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Full text of "The last days of Pompeii"

I 








THE GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE LIBRARY 

Halsted VanderPoel Campanian Collection 




DAYS OF 












UNIFORM. 



RlENZI. 

EUGENE ARAM. 
ERNEST MALTSAVERS. 




ARBACES HEARS YOUNG GLAUCUS SINGING TO IONE. P. 52. 



OF 



POMPEII. 



BY EDWARD BULWER, LORD LYTTON, 

AUTHOR OF "EUGENE ARAM," "ERNEST MALTRAVERS, 
"RIENZI,"&C. 



" Such it Vesuvius ! and these things take place in it every year. Bet 
all eruptions which have happened since would be trifling, even if all 
summed into one, compared to what occurred at the period we refer to. 

" Day was turned into night, and light into darkness an inexpressible 
quantity of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, 
and burying two entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people 
were sitting in the theatre !" DION CASSIUS, lib. Ixvi. 



REPRINTED FBOM THE ORIGINAL KDITIOS. 

LONDON: 

WILLIAM NICHOLSON AND SONS. 

2O, WARWICK SQUARE, PATERNOSTER ROW, 

AND ALBION WORKS, WAKEFIELD. 



THE GETTY RESEARCH 
INSTITUTE LIBRARY 



f"\N visiting those disinterred remains of an ancient City, which, 
\J more perhaps than either the delicious breeze or the cloud- 
less sun, the violet valleys and orange-groves of the South, attract 
the traveller to Naples ; on viewing, still fresh and vivid, the 
houses, the streets, the temples, the theatres of a place existing 
in the haughtiest age of the Roman empire it was not unnatural, 
perhaps, that a writer who had before laboured, however un- 
worthily, in the art to revive and create, should feel a keen desire 
to people once more those deserted streets, to repair those grace- 
ful ruins, to reanimate the bones which were yet spared to his 
survey ; to traverse the gulf of eighteen centuries, and to wake 
to a second existence the City of the Dead ! Pompeii ! 

And the reader will easily imagine how sensibly this desire 
grew upon one who felt he could perform his undertaking, with 
Pompeii itself at the distance of a few miles the sea that once 
bore her commerce, and received her fugitives, at his feet and 
the fatal mountain of Vesuvius, still breathing forth smoke and 
fire, constantly before his eyes ! 

I was aware, however, from the first of the great difficulties 
with which I had to contend. To paint the manners and exhibit 
the life of the middle ages, required the hand of a master genius ; 
yet, perhaps, the task is slight and easy in comparison with that 
which aspires to portray a far earlier and more unfamiliar period. 
With the men and customs of the feudal time we have a natural 
sympathy and bond of alliance ; those men were our own ances- 
tors from those customs we received our own the creed of our 
chivalric fathers is still ours their tombs yet consecrate our 
churches the ruins of their castles yet frown over our valleys. 
We trace in their struggles for liberty and for justice our present 
institutions ; and in the elements of their social state we behold 
the origin of our own. 

Yet the task, though arduous, seemed to me worth attempting ; 
and in the time and the scene I have chosen, much may be found 
to arouse the curiosity of the reader, and enlist his interest. It 
was the first century of our religion it was the most civilised 
period of Rome; the conduct of the story lies amidst places 
whose relics we yet trace ; the catastrophe is among the most 
awful which the tragedies of ancient history record. 

From the ample materials before me, my endeavour has been 
to select those which would be most attractive to a modern 
reader ; the customs and superstitions least unfamiliar to him 
the shadows that, when reanimated, would present to him such 
images as, while they represented the past, might be least unin- 
teresting to the speculations of the present. The date of my 
story is that of the short reign of Titus, when Rome was at its 



6 PREFACE. 

greatest power. It is, therefore, a most inviting temptation to 
the author to conduct the characters of his tale, during the pro- 
gress of its incidents, from Pompeii to Rome. What could afford 
such materials for description, or such field for the vanity of dis- 
play, as that gorgeous city of the world, whose grandeur could 
lend so bright an inspiration to fancy so favourable and so 
solemn a dignity to research? But, in choosing for my subject 
my catastrophe, the Destruction of Pompeii, it required but little 
insight into the higher principles of art to perceive that to Pom- 
peii the story should be rigidly confined. 

The city, whose fate supplied me with so superb and awful a 
catastrophe, supplied easily, from the first survey of its remains, 
the characters most suited to the subject and the scene ; the half 
Grecian colony of Hercules, mingling with the manners of Italy 
so much of the costumes of Hellas, suggested of itself the 
character of Glaucus and lone. The worship of Isis, its exis- 
tent fane, with its false oracles unveiled the trade of Pompeii 
with Alexandria the associations of the Saraus with the Nile 
called forth the Egyptian Arbaces, the base Calenus, and the 
fervent Apaecides. The early struggles of Christianity with the 
heathen superstition, suggested the creation of Olinthus ; and 
the burnt fields of Campania, long celebrated for the spells of 
the sorceress, naturally produced the Saga of Vesuvius. For the 
existence of the Blind Girl, I am indebted to a casual conversa- 
tion with a gentleman at Naples. Speaking of the utter darkness 
which accompanied the first recorded eruption of Vesuvius, and 
the additional obstacle it presented to the escape of the in- 
habitants, he observed that the blind would be the most favoured, 
and find the easiest deliverance. This remark originated the 
creation of Nydia. The characters, therefore, are the natural 
offspring of the scene and time. 

As the greatest difficulty in treating of an unfamiliar and distant 
period is to make the characters introduced " live and move " be- 
fore the eye of the reader, so such should doubtless be the first 
object of a work of the present description. 

Enough if this book, whatever its imperfections, should be 
found a portrait unskilful, perhaps, in colouring, faulty in 
drawing, but not altogether an unfaithful likeness of the features 
and the costume of the age which I have attempted to paint. 
May it be (what is far more important) a just representation of 
the human passion and the human heart, whose elements in all 
ages are the same ! One word more. If I have succeeded in 
giving some interest and vitality to a description of classic 
manners and to a tale of a classic age, I have succeeded where 
all hitherto have failed. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



BOOK THE FIRST. 
CHAPTER I. 

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF POMPEII. 

HO, Diomed, well met ! Do you sup with Glaucus to-night ?" 
said a young man of small stature, who wore his tunic in 
those loose and effeminate folds which proved him to be a gentle- 
man and a coxcomb. 

"Alas, no! dear Clodius ; he has not invited me," replied 
Diomed, a man of a portly frame and of middle age. ' ' By Pol- 
lux, a scurvy Trick! for they say his suppers are the best in 
Pompeii." 

" Pretty well though there is never enough of wine for me. 
It is not the old Greek blood that flows in his veins, for he pre- 
tends that wine makes him dull the next morning." 

" There may be another reason for that thrift," said Diomed, 
raising his brows. " With all his conceit and extravagance he is 
not so rich, I fancy, as he affects to be, and perhaps loves to save 
his amphorae better than his wit." 

" An additional reason for supping with him while the sesterces 
last. Next year, Diomed, we must find another Glaucus." 

" He is fond of the dice, too, I hear." 

" He is fond of every pleasure ; and while he likes the pleasure 
of giving suppers, we are all fond of him." 

' ' Ha, ha, Clodius, that is well said ! Have you ever seen my 
wine-cellars, by-the-by?" 

" I think not, my good Diomed." 

" Well, you must sup with me some evening ; I have tolerable 
muroense (lampreys) in my reservoir, and I will ask Pansa the 
sedile to meet you." 

" Oh, no state with me! Persicos odi apparatus, I am easily 
contented. Well, the day wanes ; I am for the baths and 
you?" 

" To the quasstor business of state afterwards to the temple 
oflsis. Vale I" 

"An ostentatious, bustling, ill-bred fellow," muttered Clodius 
to himself, as he sauntered slowly away. " He thinks with his 
feasts and his wine-cellars to make us forget that he is the son of 
a freedman ; and so we will, when we do him the honour of win- 
ning his money : these rich plebeians are a harvest for us spend- 
thrift nobles," 



8 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Thus soliloquising, Clodius arrived in the Via Domitiana, which 
was crowded with passengers and chariots, and exhibited all that 
gay and animated exuberance of life and motion which we find at 
this day in the streets of Naples. 

The bells of the cars, as they rapidly glided by each other, 
jingled merrily on the ear, and Clodius with smiles or nods claimed 
familiar acquaintance with whatever equipage was most elegant 
or fantastic in fact, no young man was better known about 
Pompeii. 

' ' What, Clodius ! and how have you slept on your good for- 
tune?" cried, in a pleasant and musical voice, a young man in a 
chariot of the most fastidious and graceful fashion. Upon its 
surface of bronze were elaborately wrought, in the still exquisite 
workmanship of Greece, reliefs of the Olympian games. The 
two horses that drew the car were of the rarest breed of Parthia ; 
their slender limbs seemed to disdain the ground and court the 
air, and yet at the slightest touch of the charioteer, who stood 
behind the young owner of the equipage, they paused motionless, 
as if suddenly transformed into stone lifeless, but lifelike, as one 
of the breathing wonders of Praxiteles. The owner himself was of 
that slender and beautiful symmetry from which the sculptors of 
Athens drew their models ; his Grecian origin betrayed itself in 
his light but clustering locks, and the perfect harmony of his 
features. He wore no toga, which in the time of the emperors 
had indeed ceased to be the general distinction of the Romans, 
and was especially ridiculed by the pretenders to fashion ; but 
his tunic glowed in the richest hues of the Tyrian dye, and the 
fibulas, or buckles, by which it was fastened sparkled with emer- 
alds. Around his neck was a chain of Gold, which in the middle 
of his breast twisted itself into the form of a serpent's head, from 
the mouth of which hung pendant a large signet ring of elaborate 
and most exquisite workmanship. The sleeves of the tunic 
were loose, and fringed at the hand with gold ; and across the 
waist a girdle wrought in arabesque designs, and of the same 
material as the fringe, served in lieu of pockets for the receptacle 
of the handkerchief and the purse, the stilus and the tablets. 

" My dear Glaucus !" said Clodius, " I rejoice to see that your 
losses have so little affected your mien. Why, you seem as if 
you had been inspired by Apollo, and your face shines with hap- 
piness like a glory ; any one might take you for the winner, and 
me for the loser." 

" And what is there in the loss or gain of those dull pieces of 
metal that should change our spirit, my Clodius ? By Venus ? 
while, yet young, we can cover our full locks with chaplets 
while yet the cithara sounds on unsated ears while yet the smile 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 9 

of Lydia or of Chloe flashes over our veins in which the blood 
runs so swiftly, so long shall we find delight in the sunny air, and 
make bald time itself but the treasure of our joys. You sup with 
me to-night, you know." 

" Who ever forgets the invitation of Glaucus !" 

" But which way go you now?" 

" Why, I thought of visiting the baths : but it wants yet an 
hour to the usual time." 

" Well, I will dismiss my chariot, and go with you. So, so, my 
Phylias," stroking the horse nearest to him, which by a low neigh 
and with backward ears playfully acknowledged the courtesy ; 
" a holiday for you to-day. Is he not handsome, Clodius?" 

"Worthy of Phcebus," returned the noble parasite, "or of 
Glaucus." 

CHAPTER II. . 

THE BLIND FLOWER-GIRL, AND THE BEAUTY OF FASHION. 
THE ATHENIAN'S CONFESSION. THE READER'S INTRO- 
TION TO ARBACES OF EGYPT. 

'T^ALKING lightly on a thousand matters, the two young men 
1 sauntered through the streets : they were now in that 
quarter which was filled with the gayest shops, their open in- 
teriors all and each radiant with the gaudy yet harmonious 
colours of frescoes, inconceivably varied in fancy and design. 
The sparkling fountains, that at every vista threw upwards their 
grateful spray in the summer air ; the crowd of passengers, or 
rather loiterers, mostly clad in robes of the Tyrian dye ; the gay 
groups collected round each more attractive shop ; the slaves 
passing to and fro with buckets of bronze, cast in the most grace- 
ful shapes, and born upon their heads ; the country girls stationed 
at frequent intervals with baskets of blushing fruit, and flowers 
more alluring to the ancient Italians than to their descendants 
with whom, indeed, " latet anguis in herba," a disease seems 
lurking in every violet and rose (a)* the numerous haunts 
which fulfilled with that idle people the office of caies and clubs 
of this day ; the shops, where on shelves of marble were ranged 
the vases of wine and oil, and before whose thresholds, seats, 
protected from the sun by a purple awning, invited the weary to 
rest and the indolent to lounge, made a scene of such glowing 
and vivacious excitement, as might well give the Athenian spirit 
of Glaucus an excuse for its susceptibility to joy. 

" Talk to me no more of Rome," said he to Clodius. " Plea- 
sure is too stately and ponderous in those mighty walls : even in 

See Note (a) at the end. 



10 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the precincts of the court even in the golden house of Nero, 
and the incipient glories of the palace of Titus, there is a certain 
dulness of magnificence the eye aches, the spirit is wearied ; 
besides, my Clodius, we are discontented when we see the 
enormous luxury and wealth of others, with the mediocrity of 
our own state. But here we surrender ourselves easily to plea- 
sure, and we have the brilliancy of luxury without the lassitude 
of its pomp." 

" It was from that feeling that you chose your summer retreat 
at Pompeii ?" 

" It was. I prefer it to Baiae. 'I grant the charms of the latter, 
but I love not the pedants who resort there, and who seem to 
weigh out their pleasures by the drachm." 

" Yet you are fond of the learned, too ; and as for poetry, why 
your house is literally eloquent with JEschylus and Homer, the 
epic and the drama." 

" Yes, but those Romans who mimic my Athenian ancestors 
do everything so heavily. Even in the chase they make their 
slaves carry Plato with them ; and whenever the boar is lost, out 
they take their books and papyrus, in order not to lose their time 
too. When the dancing girls swim before them in all the blandish- 
ment of Persian manners, some drone of a freedman, with a face of 
stone, reads them a section of Cicero de Officiis. Unskilful phar- 
macists ! pleasure and study are not elements to be thus mixed 
together they must be enjoyed separately : the Romans lose 
both by this pragmatical affectation of refinement, and prove 
that they have no souls for either. Oh, my Clodius, how little 
your countrymen know of the true versatility of a Pericles, of the 
true witcheries of an Aspasia ! It was but the other day that I 
paid a visit to Pliny. He was sitting in his summer-house writ- 
ing, while an unfortunate slave played on the tibia. His nephew 
oh ! whip me such philosophical coxcombs ! was reading 
Thucydides' description of the plague, and nodding his conceited 
little head in time to the music, while his lips were repeating all 
the loathsome details of that terrible delineation. The puppy saw 
nothing incongruous in learning at the same time a ditty of love 
and a description of the plague. 

" Why, they are much the same thing," said Clodius. 

" So I told him, in excuse for his coxcombry ; but my youth 
stared me rebukingly in the face, without taking the jest, and 
answered that it was only the insensate ear that the music 
pleased, whereas the book the description of the plague, mind 
you ! elevated the heart. ' Ah !' quoth the fat uncle, wheezing, 
' my boy is quite an Athenian, always mixing the utile with the 
dulci.' O Minerva, how I laughed in my sleeve I While I was 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 1 1 

there, they came to tell the boy sophist that his favourite freed- 
man was just dead of a fever. ' Inexorable Death ! " cried he ; 
' get me my Horace. How beautifully the sweet poet consoles 
us for these misfortunes !' Oh ! can these men love, my Clodius ? 
Scarcely even with the senses. How rarely a Roman has a 
heart ! He is but the mechanism of genius he wants its bones 
and flesh." 

Though Clodius was secretly a little sore at these invectives on 
his countrymen, he affected to sympathise with his friend, partly 
because he was by nature a parasite, and partly because it was 
the fashion among the dissolute young Romans to affect a little 
contempt for the very birth which, in reality, made them so arro- 
gant. It was the mode to imitate the Greeks, and yet to laugh at 
their own clumsy imitation. 

Thus conversing, their steps were arrested by a crowd gathered 
round an open space where three streets met ; and just where the 
porticoes of a light and graceful temple threw their shade, there 
stood a young girl, with a flower-basket on her right arm, and a 
small three-stringed instrument of music in the left hand, to 
whose low and soft tones she was modulating a wild and half 
barbaric air. At every pause in the music she gracefully waved 
her flower-basket round, inviting the loiterers to buy ; and many 
a sesterce was showered into the basket, either in compliment to 
the music, or in compassion to the songstress, for she was blind. 

" It is my poor Thessalian," said Glaucus, stopping, " I have 
not seen her since my return to Pompeii. Hush ! her voice is 
sweet; let us listen. " 

THE BLIND FLOWER-GIEL'S SONG. 

Buy my flowers O buy I pray ! 

The blind-girl comes from afar : 
If the earth be as fair as I hear them say, 

These flowers her children are I 
Do they her beauty keep f 

They are fresh from her lap, I know i 
For I caught them fast asleep, 

In her arms an hour ago, 
With the air which is her breath 
Her soft and delicate breath 

Over them murmuring low ! 

On their lips her sweet kiss lingers yet, 
And their cheeks with her tender tears are wet. 
For she weeps, that gentle mother weeps, 
(And morn and night her watch she keeps, 
With a yearning heart and a passionate core) 
To see the young things grow so fair : 

Bhe weeps for love she weeps 

And the dews are the tears she weeps, 
From the well of a mother's love ! 



12 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Ye have a world of light, 

Where love in the lov'd rejoices ; 
But the blind girl's home is the House of Night, 

And its beings are empty voices. 

As one in the realm below 
I stand by the streams of woe ; 
I hear the vain shadows glide, 
I feel their soft breath at my side. 

And I thirst the lov'd fonnsto see. 
And I stretch my fond arms around, 
And I catch but a shapeless sound, 

For the living are ghosts to me. 

Come buy come buy ! 
Hark! how the sweet things sigh 
(For they have a voice like ours), 
" The breath of the blind girl closes 
The leaves of the saddening roses, 
We are tender, we sons of fight, 
We shrink from this child of night ; 
From the grasp of the blind girl free us; 
We yearn for the eyes that see us 
We are for night too gay, 
In your eyes we behold the day 
O buy O buy the flowers !" 

" I must have yon bunch of violets, sweet Nydia," said 
Glaucus, pressing through the crowd, and dropping a handful 
of small coins into the basket ; ' ' your voice is more charming 
than ever." 

The blind girl started forward as she heard the Athenian's 
voice ; then as suddenly paused, while the blood rushed violently 
over neck, cheek, and temples. 

"So you are returned," said she, in a low voice; and then 
repeated, half to herself, " Glaucus is returned!" 

"Yes, child, I have not been at Pompeii above a few days. 
My garden wanls your care as before ; you will visit it, I trust, 
to-morrow. And mind, no garlands at my house shall be woven 
by any hands but those of the pretty Nydia." 

Nydia smiled joyously, but did not answer ; and Glaucus, plac- 
ing the violets he had selected in his breast, turned gaily and 
carelessly from the crowd. 

" So, she is a sort of client of yours, this child," said Clodius. 

"Ay does not she sing prettily? She interests me, poor 
slave ! Besides, she is from the land of gods' hill Olympus 
frowned upon her cradle she is of Thessaly." 

" The witches' country." 

" True ; but for my part I find every woman a witch ; and at 
Pompeii, by Venus ! the very air seems to have taken a love- 
philtre, so handsome does every face without a beard seem in my 
eyes." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. IJ 

"And, lo ! one of the handsomest in Pompeii, old Diomed's 
daughter, the rich Julia," said Clodius, as a young lady, her face 
covered by a veil, and attended by two female slaves, approached 
them, in her way to the baths. 

" Fair Julia! we salute thee," said Clodius. 

Julia partially raised her veil, so as with some coquetry to dis- 
play a bold Roman profile, a full dark bright eye, and a cheek 
over whose natural olive art shed a fairer and a softer rose. 

" And Glaucus, too, is returned !" said she, glancing meaningly 
at the Athenian. " Has he forgotten," added she, in a half- 
whisper, " his friends of the last year?" 

" Beautiful Julia ! even Lethe itself, if it disappear in one part 
of the earth, rises again in another. Jupiter does not allow us 
ever to forget for more than a moment ; but Venus, more harsh 
still, vouchsafes not even a moment's oblivion." 

" Glaucus is never at a loss for fair words." 

" Who is, when the object of them is so fair?" 

" We shall see you both at my father's villa soon," said Julia, 
turning to Clodius. 

"We will mark the day in which we visit you with a white 
stone," answered the gamester. 

Julia dropped her veil, but slowly, so that her last glance rested 
on the Athenian with affected timidity and real boldness, the 
glance bespoke tenderness and reproach. 

The friends passed on. 

"Julia is certainly handsome," said Glaucus. 

"And last year you would have made that confession in a 
warmer tone." 

" True : I was dazzled at the first sight, and mistook for a gem 
that which was but an artful imitation." 

" Nay," returned Clodius, "all women are the same at heart. 
Happy he who weds a handsome face and a large dower. What 
more can he desire?" 

Glaucus sighed. 

They were now in a street less crowded than the rest, at the 
end of which they beheld that broad and most lovely sea, which 
upon those delicious coasts seems to have renounced its prero- 
gative of terror so soft are the crisping winds that hover around 
its bosom, so glowing and so various are the hues which it takes 
from the rosy clouds, so fragrant are the perfumes which the 
breezes from the land scatter over its depths. From such a sea 
might you well believe that Anadyomene rose to take the empire 
of the earth. 

"It is still early for the bath," said the Greek, who was a 
creature of every poetical impulse; "let us wander from the 



14 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

crowded city, and look upon the sea while the noon yet laughs 
along its billows." 

" With all my heart," said Clodius ; " and the bay, too, is al- 
ways the most animated part of the city." 

Pompeii was the miniature of the civilisation of that age. 
Within the narrow compass of its walls was contained, as it were, 
a specimen of every gift which Luxury offered to Power. In 
its minute but glittering shops, its tiny palaces, its baths, its 
forum, its theatre, its circus in the energy yet corruption, in the 
refinement yet the vice, of its people, you behold a model of the 
whole empire. It was a toy, a plaything, a show-box, in which 
the gods seemed pleased to keep the representation of the Great 
Monarchy of Earth, and which they afterwards hid from Time to 
give to the wonder of Posterity ! the moral of the maxim that 
under the sun there is nothing new. 

Crowded in the glassy bay were the vessels of commerce and 
the gilded galleys for the pleasure of the rich citizens. The 
boats of the fisherman glided rapidly to and fro ; and afar off 
you saw the tall masts of the fleet under the command of Pliny. 
Upon the shore sat a Silician, who, with vehement gestures and 
flexile features, was narrating to a group of fishermen and 
peasants a strange tale of shipwrecked mariners and friendly 
dolphins, just as at this day, in the modern neighbourhood, you 
may hear upon the Mole of Naples. 

Drawing his comrade from the crowd, the Greek bent his steps 
towards a solitary part of the beach, and the two friends, seated 
on a small crag which rose amidst the smooth pebbles, inhaled 
the voluptuous and cooling breeze which, dancing over the 
waters, kept music with its invisible feet. There was perhaps 
something in the scene that invited them to silence and to reverie. 
Clodius, shading his eyes from the burning sky, was calculating 
the gains of the last week ; and the Greek, leaning upon his 
hand, and shrinking not from that sun his nation's tutelary deity 
with whose fluent light of poesy, and joy, and love, his own 
veins were filled, gazed upon the broad expanse, and envied, per- 
haps, every wind that bent its pinions towards the shores of 
Greece. 

" Tell me, Clodius," said the Greek, at last, " hast thou ever 
been in love?" 

"Yes, very often." 

"He who has loved often," answered Glaucus, "has loved 
never. There is but one Eros, though there are many counter- 
feits of him." 

" The counterfeits are not bad little gods, upon the whole," 
answered Clodius. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 15 

" I agree with you," returned the Greek. "I adore even the 
shadow of Love ; but I adore himself yet more." 

' ' Art thou then in sober and earnest love ? Hast thou that feel- 
ing the poets describe a feeling that makes us neglect our sup- 
pers, forswear the theatre and write elegies ? I should never have 
thought it. You dissemble well." 

" I am not far gone enough for that," returned Glaucus, smil- 
ing ; " or rather I say with Tibullus, 

' Whom soft love rules, where'er his path, 
Walks safe and sacred.' 

In fact, I am not in love ; but I could be if there were but occa- 
sion to see the object. Eros would light his torch, but the priests 
have given him no oil." 

" Shall I guess the object ? Is it not Diomed's daughter? She 
adores you, and does not affect to conceal it ; and, by Hercules ! 
I say again and again, she is both handsome and rich. She will 
bind the door-posts of her husband with golden fillets." 

" No, I do not desire to sell myself. Diomed's daughter is 
handsome, I grant ; and at one time, had she not been the grand- 
child of a freedman, I might have Yet no she carries all her 

beauties in her face ; her manners are not maiden-like, and her 
mind knows no culture save that of pleasure !" 

"You are ungrateful. Tell me, then, who is the fortunate 
virgin ?" 

' ' You shall hear my Clodius. Several months ago I was so- 
journing at Neapolis, a city utterly to my own heart, for it still 
retains the manners and stamp of its Grecian origin ; and it yet 
merits the name of Pathenope, from its delicious air and its 
beautiful shores. One day I entered the temple of Minerva to 
offer up my prayers, not for myself more than for the city on 
which Pallas smiles no longer. The temple was empty and de- 
serted. The recollections of Athens crowded fast and meltingly 
upon me. Imagining myself still alone in the temple, and ab- 
sorbed in the earnestness of my devotion, my prayer gushed 
from my heart to my lips, and I wept as I prayed. I was startled 
in the midst of my devotions, however, by a deep sigh. I turned 
suddenly round, and just behind me was a female. She had 
raised her veil also in prayer ; and when our eyes met, methought 
a celestial ray shot from those dark and shining orbs at once into 
my soul. Never, my Clodius, have I seen mortal face more ex- 
quisitely moulded. A certain melancholy softened and yet ele- 
vated its expression ; that unutterable something which springs 
from the soul, and which our sculptors have imparted to the 
aspect of Psyche, gave her beauty I know not what of divine and 
noble. Tears were rolling down her eyes. I guessed at once 



1 6 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

that she was also of Athenian lineage ; and that in my prayer 
for Athens her heart had responded to mine. I spoke to her, 
though with a faltering voice 'Art thou not, too, Athenian?" 
said I, 'O beautiful virgin?' At the sound of my voice she 
blushed, and half drew her veil across her face. ' My fore- 
fathers' ashes,' said she, 'repose by the waters of Hyssus : my 
birth is of Neapolis ; but my heart, as my lineage, is Athenian.' 
' Let us, then,' said I, ' make our offerings together ;' and, as the 
priest now appeared, we stood side by side, while we followed 
the priest in his ceremonial prayer. Together we touched the 
knees of the goddess together we laid our olive garlands on the 
altar. I felt a strange emotion of almost sacred tenderness at 
this companionship. We, strangers from a far and fallen land, 
stood together and alone in that temple of our country's deity : 
was it not natural that my heart should yearn to my country- 
woman, for so I might surely call her ? I felt as if I had known 
her for years ; and that simple right seemed, as by miracle, to 
operate on the sympathies and ties of time. Silently we left the 
temple ; and I was about to ask her where she dwelt, and if I 
might be permitted to visit her, when a youth, in whose features 
there was some kindred resemblance to her own, and who stood 
upon the steps of the fane, took her by the hand. She turned 
round and bade me farewell. The crowd separated us ; I saw 
her no more. On reaching my home I found letters, which 
obliged me to set out for Athens, for my relations threatened me 
with litigation concerning my inheritance. When that suit was 
happily over, I repaired once more to Neapolis ; I instituted in- 
quiries throughout the whole city : I could discover no clue of 
my lost countrywoman ; and hoping to lose in gaiety all remem- 
brance of that beautiful apparition, I hastened to plunge myself 
amidst the luxuries of Pompeii. This is all my history. I do 
not love ; but I remember and regret." 

As Clodius was about to reply, a slow and stately step ap- 
proached them, and at the sound it made amongst the pebbles, 
each turned, and each recognised the new-comer. 

It was a man,who had scarcely reached his fortieth year, of tall 
stature, and of a thin but nervous and sinewy frame. His skin, 
dark and bronzed, betrayed his eastern origin ; and his features 
had something Greek in their outline especially in the chin, 
the lip, the brow, and the throat save that the nose was some- 
what raised and aquiline ; and the bones, hard and visible, for- 
bade that fleshy and waving contour which on the Grecian 
physiognomy preserved even in manhood the round and beauti- 
ful curves of youth. His eyes, large and black as the deepest 
night, shone with no varying and uncertain lustre. A deep, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 17 

thoughtful, and half melancholy calm seemed unalterably fixed 
in their majestic and commanding gaze. His step and mien 
were peculiarly sedate and lofty, and something foreign in the 
fashion and the sober hues of his sweeping garments added to 
the impressive effect of his quiet countenance and stately form. 
Each of the young men, in saluting the new-comer, made me- 
chanically, and with care to conceal it from him, a slight gesture 
or sign with their fingers ; for Arbaces, the Egyptian, was sup- 
posed to possess the fatal gift of the evil eye. 

"The scene must indeed be beautiful," said Arbaces, with a 
cold though courteous smile, "which draws the gay Clodius, and 
Glaucus the all-admired, from the crowded thoroughfares of the 
city." 

" Is Nature ordinarily so unattractive?" asked the Greek. 

" To the dissipated yes." 

"An austere reply, but scarcely a wise one. Pleasure delights 
in contrasts ; it is from dissipation that we learn to enjoy solitude, 
and from solitude, dissipation." 

" So think the young philosophers of the garden," replied the 
Egyptian ; ' ' they mistake lassitude for meditation, and imagine 
that, because they are sated with others, they know the delight 
of loneliness. But not in such jaded bosoms can Nature awaken 
that enthusiasm which alone draws from her chaste reserve all 
her unspeakable beauty ; she demands from you not the ex- 
haustion of passion, but all that fervour from which you only 
seek, in adoring her, a release. When, young Athenian, the 
Moon revealed herself in visions of light to Endymion, it was 
after a day passed, not amongst the feverish haunts of men, 
but on the still mountains and in the solitary valleys of the 
hunters." 

" Beautiful simile!" cried Glaucus ; " most unjust application ! 
Exhausted ! ah ! youth is never exhausted ; and by me, at least, 
one moment of satiety has never been known !" 

Again the Egyptian smiled, but his smile was cold and blight- 
Ing ; and even the unimaginative Clodius froze beneath its light. 
He did not, however, reply to the passionate exclamation of 
Glaucus ; but, after a pause, he said in a soft and melancholy 
voice, 

" After all, you do right to enjoy the hour while it smiles for 
you ; the rose soon withers, the perfume soon exhales ; and we, 
O Glaucus ! strangers in the land, and far from our fathers' ashes, 
what is there left for us but pleasure or regret ? for you the first, 
perhaps for me the last," 

The bright eyes of the Greek were suddenly suffused with tears. 
" Ah, speak not, Arbaces," he cried, ' ' speak not of our ancestors. 

B 



1 8 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Let us forget that there were ever other liberties than those of 
Rome ! and Glory ! oh, vainly would we call her ghost from 
fields of Marathon and Thermopylae !" 

" Thy heart rebukes thee while thou speakest,"said the Egyp- 
tian ; ' ' and in thy gaieties this night thou wilt be more mindful 
of Lecena* than of Lais. Vale/" 

Thus saying, he gathered his robe around him, and slowly 
swept away. 

" I breathe more freely," said Clodius. " Imitating the 
Egyptians, we sometimes introduce a skeleton at our feasts. 
In truth, the presence of such an Egyptian as yon gliding 
shadow were spectre enough to sour the richest grape of the 
Falernian." 

" Strange man ! " said Glaucus, musingly ; " yet, dead though 
he seem to pleasure, and cold to the objects of the world, scandal 
belies him, or his house and his heart could tell a different 
tale." 

" Ah ! there are whispers of other orgies than those of Osiris 
in his gloomy mansion. He is rich, too, they say. Can we 
not get him among us, and teach him the charms of dice? 
Pleasure of pleasures ! hot fever of hope and fear ! inex- 
pressible unjaded passion ! how fiercely beautiful thou art, O 
Gaming ! " 

"Inspired inspired!" cried Glaucus, laughing; "the oracle 
speaks poetry in Clodius. What miracle next?" 

CHAPTER III. 

PARENTAGE OF GLAUCUS. DESCRIPTION OF THE HOUSES OF 
POMPEII. A CLASSIC REVEL. 

HEAVEN had given to Glaucus every blessing but one : it 
had given him beauty, health, fortune, genius, illustrious 
descent, a heart of fire, a mind of poetry ; but it had denied him 
the heritage of freedom. He was born in Athens, the subject of 
Rome. Succeeding early to an ample inheritance, he had indulg- 
ed that inclination for travel so natural to the young, and had 
drunk deep of the intoxicating draught of pleasure, amidst the 
gorgeous luxuries of the imperial court. 

He was an Alcibiades without ambition. He was what a man 
of imagination, youth, fortune, talents, readily becomes when you 
deprive him of the inspiration of glory. His house at Rome was 

* I/eoena, the heroic mistress of Aristqgeiton, when put to the torture, bit 
out her tongue that the pain might not induce her to betray the conspiracy 
against the sons of Pisistratus. The statue of a lioness, erected in her hon- 
our, was to be seen at Athens in the time of Pausanias. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 19 

the theme of the debauchees, but also of the lovers of art ; and 
the sculptors of Greece, delighted to task their skill in adorning 
the porticoes and exedra of an Athenian. His retreat in Pompeii 
alas! the colours are faded now, the walls stripped of their 
paintings ! its main beauty, its elaborate finish of grace and 
ornament, is gone ; yet when first given once more to the day, 
what eulogies, what wonder did its minute and glowing decora- 
tions create its painting its mosaics ! Passionately enamoured 
of poetry and the drama, which recalled to Glaucus the wit and 
the heroism of his race, that fairy mansion was adorned with re- 
presentations of JEschylus and Homer. And antiquaries, who 
resolve taste to a trade, have turned the patron to the pro- 
fessor, and still (the error is now acknowledged) they style in 
custom, as they first named in mistake, the disburied house of 
the Athenian Glaucus, " THE HOUSE OF THE DRAMATIC POET." 

Previous to our description of this house, it may be as well to 
convey to the reader a general notion of the houses of Pompeii, 
which he will find to resemble strongly the plans of Vitruvius ; 
but with all those differences in detail, of caprice and taste, which 
being natural to mankind, have always puzzled antiquaries. We 
shall endeavour to make this description as clear as possible. 

You enter then usually by a small entrance passage (called 
vestidulum], into a hall, sometimes with (but more frequently 
without) the ornament of columns ; around three sides of this 
hall are doors communicating with several bedchambers (among 
which is the porter's), the best of these being usually appropri- 
ated to country visitors. At the extremity of the hall, on either 
side to the right and left, if the house is large, there are two 
small recesses, rather than chambers, generally devoted to the 
ladies of the mansion ; and in the centre of the tesselated pave- 
ment of the hall is invariably a square shallow reservoir for rain 
water, classically termed impluvium, which was admitted by an 
aperture in the roof above ; the said aperture being covered at 
will by an awning. Near this impluvium, which had a peculiar 
sanctity in the eyes of the ancients, were sometimes (but at Pom- 
peii more rarely than at Rome) placed images of the household 
gods ; the hospitable hearth, often mentioned by the Roman 
poets, and concentrated to the Lares, was at Pompeii almost in- 
variably formed by a movable brasier ; while in some corner, 
often the most ostentatious place, was deposited a huge wooden 
chest, ornamented and strengthened by bands of bronze or iron, 
and secured by strong hooks upon a stone pedestal so firmly as 
to defy the attempts of any robber to detach it from its position. 
This chest was supposed to be the money-box, or coffer, of the 
master of the house ; though, as no money has been found in any 



20 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of the chests discovered at Pompeii, it is probable that it was 
sometimes rather designed for ornament than use. 

In this hall or atrium, to speak classically the clients and 
visitors of inferior rank were usually received. In the houses of 
the more " respectable, "an airiensis, or slave peculiarly devoted 
to the service of the hall, was invariably retained, and his rank 
among his fellow-slaves was high and important. The reservoir 
in the centre must have been rather a dangerous ornament ; but 
the centre of the hall was like the grass-plot of a college, and in- 
terdicted to the passers to and fro, who found ample space in the 
margin. Right opposite the entrance, at the other end of the 
hall, was an apartment, tablinum, in which the pavement was 
usually adorned with rich mosaics, and the walls covered with 
elaborate paintings. Here was usually kept the records of the 
family, or those of any public office that had been filled by the 
owner ; on one side of this saloon, if we may so call it, was 
often a dining-room, or triclinium ; on the other side, perhaps, 
what we should now term a cabinet of gems, containing what- 
ever curiosities were deemed most rare and costly ; and invariably 
a small passage for the slaves to cross to the farther parts of the 
house without passing the apartments thus mentioned. These 
rooms all opened on a square or oblong colonnade, technically 
termed peristyle. If the house was small, its boundary ceased 
with its colonnade, and in that case its centre, however diminutive, 
was ordinarily appropriated to the purpose of a garden, and 
adorned with vases of flowers placed upon pedestals, while under 
the colonnade, to the right and left, were doors admitting to bed- 
rooms,* to a second triclinium, or eating-room (for the ancients 
generally appropriated two rooms at least to that purpose, one 
for summer and one for winter ; or, perhaps, one for ordinary, 
the other for festive occasions) ; and if the owner affected letters, 
a cabinet, dignified by the name of library for a very small 
room was sufficient to contain the few rolls of papyrus which the 
ancients deemed a notable collection of books. 

At the end of the peristyle was generally the kitchen. Sup- 
posing the house was large, it did not end with the peristyle, and 
the centre thereof was not in that case a garden, but might be 
perhaps adorned with a fountain, or basin for fish ; and at its end, 
exactly opposite to the tablinum, was generally another eating- 
room, on either side of which were bedrooms, and perhaps a 
picture saloon or pinatheca.\ These apartments communicated 

* The Romans had bedrooms appropriated not only to the sleep of night, 
but also to the day siesta (cubicula diurna). 

fin the stately palaces of Borne, the pinatheca generally communicated 
with the atrium. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 21 

again with a square or oblong space, usually adorned on three 
sides with a colonnade like the peristyle, and very much resembl- 
ing the peristyle, only usually longer. This was the proper 
viridarium or garden, being commonly adorned with a fountain 
or statues, and a profusion of gay flowers : at its extreme end 
was the gardener's house : on either side, beneath the colonnade, 
were sometimes, if the size of the family required it, additional 
rooms. 

At Pompeii, a second or third story was rarely of importance, 
being built only above a small part of the house, and containing 
rooms for the slaves ; differing in this respect from the more 
magnificent edifices of Rome, which generally contained the 
principal eating-room (or cesnacufam) on the second floor. The 
apartments themselves were ordinarily of small size ; for in those 
delightful climes they received any extraordinary number of 
visitors in the peristyle or portico, the hall, or the garden ; and 
even their banquet rooms, however elaborately adorned and 
carefully selected in point of aspect, were of dimunitive propor- 
tions ; for the intellectual ancients, being fond of society, not of 
crowds, rarely feasted more than nine at a time, so that large 
dinner-rooms were not so necessary with them as with us.* But 
the suite of rooms, seen at once from the entrance, must have 
had a very imposing effect ; you beheld at once the hall richly 
paved and painted the tablinum the graceful peristyle, and, 
if the house extended farther, the opposite banquet room and the 
garden, which closed the view with some gushing fount or marble 
statue. 

The reader will now have a tolerable notion of the Pompeian 
houses, which resembled in some respects the Grecian, but 
mostly the Roman fashion of domestic architecture. In almost 
every house there is some difference in detail from the rest, but that 
principal outline is the same in all. In all you find the hall, the 
tablinum, and the peristyle communicating with each other ; in 
all you find the walls richly painted ; and in all the evidence of a 
people fond of the refining elegances of life. The purity of the 
taste of the Pompeians in decoration is, however, questionable : 
they were fond of the gaudiest colours, of fantastic designs ; they 
often painted the lower half of their columns a bright red, leaving 
the rest uncoloured ; and where the garden was small, its wall was 
frequently tinted to deceive the eye as to its extent, imitating trees, 
birds, temples, &c., in perspective a meretricious delusion which 
the graceful pedantry of Pliny himself adopted, with a complacent 
pride in its ingenuity. 

For large parties, the feast was served in the hall 



22 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

But the house of Glaucus was at once one of the smallest, and 
yet one of the most adorned and finished of all the private man- 
sions of Pompeii : it would be a model at this day for the house 
of "a single man in Mayfair" the envy and despair of the 
coelibian purchasers of buhl and marquetry. 

You enter by a long and narrow vestibule, on the floor of 
which is the image of a dog in mosaic, with the well-known 
"Cave camen," or "Beware the dog." On either side is a 
chamber of some size ; for the interior house not being large 
enough to contain the two great divisions of private and public 
apartments, these two rooms were set apart for the reception of 
visitors who neither by rank nor familiarity were entitled to ad- 
mission in the penetralia of the mansion. 

Advancing up the vestibule, you enter an atrium, that when 
first discovered was rich in painting, which in point of expression 
would scarcely disgrace Raphael. You may see them now trans- 
planted to the Neapolitan Museum : they are still the admiration 
of connoisseurs they depict the parting of Achilles and Briseis. 
Who does not acknowledge the force, the vigour, the beauty em- 
ployed in delineating the forms and faces of Achilles and the im- 
mortal slave. 

On one side the atrium, a small staircase admitted to the apart- 
ments for the slaves on the second floor ; there also were two or 
three small bedrooms, the walls of which portrayed the rape of 
Europa, the battle of the Amazons, &c. 

You now enter the tablinum, across which at either end hung 
rich draperies of Tyrian purple, half withdrawn.* On the walls 
was depicted a poet reading his verses to his friends : and in the 
pavement was inserted a small and most exquisite mosaic, typi- 
cal of the instructions given by the director of the stage to his 
comedians. 

You passed through this saloon and entered the peristyle ; and 
here (as I have said before was usually the case with the smaller 
houses of Pompeii) the mansion ended. From each of the seven 
columns that adorned this court hung festoons of garlands ; the 
centre, supplying the place of a garden, bloomed with the rarest 
flowers placed in vases of white marble that were supported on 
pedestals. At the left end of this small garden was a diminutive 
fane, resembling one of those small chapels placed at the side of 
roads in Catholic countries, and dedicated to the Penates ; before 
it stood a bronze tripod : to the left of the colonnade were two 
small cabicula or bedrooms ; to the right was the triclinium, in 
which the guests were now assembled. 

Tlje tablinunu was also secured at pleasure by sliding doors. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 23 

This room is usually termed by the antiquaries of Naples, "the 
chamber of Leda ;" and in the beautiful work of Sir William 
Gell the reader will find an engraving from that most delicate 
and graceful painting of Leda presenting her new-born to her 
husband, from which the room derives its name. This beautiful 
apartment opened upon the fragrant garden. Round the table 
of cihean * wood, highly polished and delicately wrought with 
silver arabesques, were placed the three couches, which were yet 
more common at Pompeii than the semicircular seat that had 
grown lately into fashion at Rome ; and on these couches of 
bronze, studded with rich metals, were laid thick quillings, cover- 
ed with elaborate embroidery, and yielding luxuriously to the 
pressure. 

"Well, I must own," said the sedile Pansa, "that your 
house, though scarcely larger than a case for one's fibulae is 
a gem of its kind. How beautifully painted is that parting 
of Achilles and Briseis ! what a style ! what heads ! what a 
hem !" 

" Praise from Pansa is indeed valuable on such subjects," said 
Clodius, gravely. " Why, the paintings on his walls ah! there 
is, indeed, the hand of a Zeuxis !" 

"You flatter me, my Clodius; indeed you do," quoth the 
sedile, who was celebrated through Pompeii for having the worst 
paintings in the world ; for he was patriotic, and patronised 
none but Pompeians. " You flatter me ; but there is something 
pretty .ZEdepol, yes in the colours, to say nothing of the 
design ; and then for the kitchen, my friends ah ! that was all 
my fancy." 

" What is the design?" said Glaucus. " I have not yet seen 
your kitchen, though I have often witnessed the excellence of 
its cheer." 

" A cook, my Athenian a cook sacrificing the trophies of his 
skill on the altar of Vesta, with a beautiful muraena taken 
from the life on a spit at a distance. There is some invention 
there!" 

At that instant the slaves appeared, bearing a tray covered 
with the first preparative initia of the feast. Amidst delicious 
figs, fresh herbs strewed with snow, anchovies and eggs, were 
ranged cups of diluted wine sparingly mixed with honey. As 
these were placed on the table, young slaves bore round to each 
of the five guests for there were no more the silver basin of 
perfumed water, and napkins edged with a purple fringe. But 
the eedile ostentatiously drew forth his own napkin, which was not 

The most Tallied W004 not the modern citron tree, 



24 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

indeed of so fine a linen, but in which the fringe was twice as 
broad, and wiped his hands with the parade of a man who felt 
he was calling for admiration. 

"A splendid mappa that of yours," said Clodius ; " why, the 
fringe is as broad as a girdle." 

" A trifle, my Clodius, a trifle ! They tell me this stripe is the 
latest fashion at Rome ; but Glaucus attends to these things more 
than I." 

" Be propitious, O Bacchus !" said Glaucus, inclining reveren- 
tially to a beautiful image of the god placed in the centre of the 
table, at the corners of which stood the Lares and the salt-holders. 
The guests followed the prayer, and then, sprinkling the wine on 
the table, they performed the wonted libation. 

This over, the convivalists reclined themselves on the couches, 
and the business of the hour commenced. 

" May this cup be my last! " said the young Sallust, as the 
table, cleared of its first stimulants, was now loaded with the sub- 
stantial part of the entertainment, and the ministering slave pour- 
ed forth to him a brimming cyathus ; ' ' may this cup be my last, 
but it is the best wine I have drank at Pompeii !" 

" Bring hither the amphora," said Glaucus, "and read its date 
and its character." 

The slave hastened to inform the party that the scroll fastened 
to the cork betokened its birth from Chios, and its age a ripe fifty 
years. 

" How deliciously the snow has cooled it !" said Pansa ; " it is 
just enough." 

"It is like the experience of a man who has cooled his 
pleasure sufficiently to give them a double zest," exclaimed 
Sallust. 

" It is like a woman's No," added Glaucus ; " it cools, but to 
inflame the more." 

" When is our next wild -beast fight?" said Clodius to Pansa. 

" It stands fixed for the ninth ide of August," answered Pansa ; 
" on the day after the Vulcanalia. We have a most lovely young 
lion for the occasion." 

" Whom shall we get for him to eat?" asked Clodius. "Alas I 
there is a great scarcity of criminals. You must positively find 
some innocent or other to condemn to the lion, Pansa !" 

" Indeed I have thought very seriously about it of late," replied 
the sedile, gravely. " It was a most infamous law that which for- 
bade us to send our own slaves fo the wild beasts. Not to let us 
do what we like with our own, that's what I call an infringement 
on property itself," 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 25 

" Not so in the good old days of the Republic," sighed 
Sallust. 

" And then this pretended mercy to the slaves is such a disap- 
pointment to the poor people. How they do love to see a good 
tough battle between a man and a lion ; and all this innocent 
pleasure they may lose if the gods don't send us a good criminal 
soon from this cursed law." 

" What can be worse policy," said Clodius, sententiously, 
" than to interfere with the manly amusements of the people?" 

"Well, thank Jupiter and the Fates! we have no Nero at 
present," said Sallust. 

' ' He was, indeed, a tyrant ; he shut up our ampitheatre for ten 
years. " 

" I wonder it did not create a rebellion," said Sallust. 

" It very nearly did," returned Pansa, with his mouth full of 
wild boar. 

Here the conversation was interrupted for a moment by a 
flourish of flutes, and two slaves entered with a single dish. 

' ' Ah ! what delicacy hast thou in store for us now, my Glau- 
cus?" cried the young Sallust, with sparkling eyes. 

Sallust was only twenty-four, but he had no pleasure in life like 
eating ; perhaps he had exhausted all the others ; yet he had some 
talent, and an excellent heart as far as it went. 

" I know its face, by Pollux !" cried Pansa ; " it is an Am- 
bracian kid. Ho !" snapping his fingers, a usual signal to the 
slaves " we must prepare a new libation in honour to the new- 
comer." 

" I had hoped," said Glaucus, in a melancholy tone, " to have 
procured you some oysters from Britain ; but the winds that were 
so cruel to Csesar have forbid us the oysters." 

" Are they in truth so delicious?" asked Lepidus, loosening to 
a yet more luxurious ease his ungirdled tunic. 

' ' Why, in truth, I suspect it is the distance that gives the 
flavour ; they want the richness of the Brundusium oyster. But 
at Rome no supper is complete without them." 

" The poor Britons ! There is some good in them after all," 
said Sallust ; " they produce an oyster." 

" I wish they would produce us a gladiator," said the sedile, 
whose provident mind was still musing over the wants of the 
amphitheatre. 

" By Pallas !'' cried Glaucus, as his favourite slave 'crowned his 
streaming locks with a new chaplet, ' ' I love these wild spectacles 
well enough when beast fights beast ; but when a man, one with 
bones and blood like ours, is coldly put on the arena, and torn 
limb from limb, the interest is too horrid. I sicken I gasp for 



26 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

breath I long to rush and defend him. The yells of the popu- 
lace seem to me more dire than the voices of the Furies chasing 
Orestes. I rejoice that there is so little chance of that bloody 
exhibition for our next show !" 

The aedile shrugged his shoulders ; the young Sallust, who 
was thought the best-natured man in Pompeii, stared in surprise. 
The graceful Lepidus, who rarely spoke for fear of disturbing his 
features, ejaculated " Hercle !" The parasite Clodius muttered 
" JEdepol ! " and the sixth banqueter, who was the umbra ol 
Clodius (6)* and whose duty it was to echo his richer friend, when 
he could not praise him, the parasite of a parasite, muttered 
also "JEdepol!" 

" Well, you Italians are used to these spectacles ; we Greeks 
are more merciful. Ah, shade of Pindar ! the rapture of a true 
Grecian game the emulation of man against man the generous 
strife the half-mournful triumph so proud to contend with a 
noble foe, so sad to see him overcome ! But ye understand me 
not." 

"The kid is excellent," said Sallust. 

The slave whose duty it was to carve, and who valued himself 
on his science, had just performed that office on the kid to the 
sound of music, his knife keeping time, beginning with a low 
tenor, and accomplishing the arduous feat amidst a magnificent 
diapason. 

" Your cook is of course from Sicily?" said Pansa. 

" Yes, of Syracuse." 

" 1 will play you for him," said Clodius : "we will have a game 
between the courses." 

" Better that sort of game, certainly, than a beast fight ; but 1 
cannot stake my Sicilian : you have nothing so precious to stake 
me in return." 

" My Phillida my beautiful dancing girl !" 

" I never buy women," said the Greek, carelessly, re-arranging 
his chaplet. 

The musicians, who were stationed in the portico without, had 
commenced their office with the kid ; they now directed the 
melody into a more soft, a more gay, yet, it may be, a more in- 
tellectual strain ; and they chanted that song of Horace, begin- 
ning " Persicos odi," &c., so impossible to translate, and which 
they imagined applicable to a feast that, effeminate as it 
seems to us, was simple enough for the gorgeous revelry of 
the time. We are witnessing the domestic and not the princely 
feast the entertainment of a gentleman, not an emperor or a 

senator. 

" See Note (b) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 27 

"Ah, good old Horace 1" said Sallust, compassionately : "he 
sang well of feasts and girls, but not like our modern poets." 

" The immortal Fulvius, for instance," said Clodius. 

"Ah, Fulvius the immortal !" said the umbra. 

"And Spursena ; and Caius Mutius, who wrote three epics 
hi a year could Horace do that, or Virgil either?" said Lepi- 
dus. "Those old poets all fell into the mistake of copying sculp- 
ture instead of painting. Simplicity and repose that was their 
notion ; but we moderns have fire and energy we never sleep, 
we imitate the colours of paintings, its life and its action. Im- 
mortal Fulvius !" 

" By the way," said Sallust, "have you seen the new ode by 
Spursena in honour of our Egyptian Isis ? It is magnificent the 
true religious fervour." 

" Isis seems a favourite divinity at Pompeii," said Glaucus. 

" Yes," said Pansa, " she is exceedingly in repute just at this 
moment ; her statute has been uttering the most remarkable 
oracles. I am not superstitious, but I must confess that she has 
more than once assisted me materially in my magistracy with her 
advice. Her priests are are so pious, too ! none of your gay, none 
of your proud, ministers of Jupiter and Fortune ; they walk bare- 
foot, eat no meat, and pass the greater part of the night in solitary 
devotion ! " 

"An example to our other priesthoods, indeed! Jupiter's 
temple wants reforming sadly," said Lepidus, who was" a great 
reformer for all but himself. 

' ' They say that Arbaces the Egyptian has imparted some 
most solemn mysteries to the priests of Isis," observed Sallust ; 
" he boasts his descent from the race of Rameses, and de- 
clares that in his family the secrets of remotest antiquity are 
treasured." 

" He certainly possesses the gift of the evil eye," said Clodius ; 
"if I ever come upon that Medusa front without the previous 
charm, I am sure to lose a favourite horse, or throw the canes* 
nine times running." 

" The last would be indeed a miracle," said Sallust, gravely. 

"How mean you, Sallust?" returned the gamester, with a 
flushed brow. 

' ' I mean what you would leave me if I played often with you ; 
and that is nothing." 

Clodius answered only by a smile of disdain. 

" If Arbaces were not so rich," said Pansa, with a stately air, 
" I should stretch my authority a little, and inquire into the 

Ca.net, o? Canicula, the lowest throw at dice, 



28 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

truth of the report which calls him an astrologer and a sorcerer. 
Agrippa, when sedile of Rome, banished all such terrible 
citizens. But a rich man it is the duty of an sedile to protect 
the rich !" 

" What think you of this new sect, which I am told has even 
a few proselytes in Pompeii, these followers of the Hebrew God 
Christus?" 

" Oh, mere speculative visionaries," said Clodius ; " they have 
not a single gentleman amongst them ; their proselytes are poor, 
insignificant, ignorant people !" 

" Who ought, however, to be crucified for their blasphemy," 
said Pansa, with vehemence: "they deny Venus and Jove! 
Nazarene is but another name for atheist. Let me catch them, 
that's all !" 

The second course was gone the feasters fell back on their 
couches there was a pause while they listened to the soft 
voices of the south, and the music of the Arcadian reed. Glau- 
cus was the most wrapt and the least inclined to break the 
silence ; but Clodius began already to think that they wasted 
time. 

" Bene vobisf yourjiealth ! my Glaucus," said he, quaffing a 
cup to each letter of the Greek's name with the ease of the prac- 
tised drinker. " Will you not be avenged on your ill-fortune of 
yesterday? See, the dice court us." 

" As you will," said Glaucus. 

" The dice in August, and I an Eedile," (c)* said Pansa, magi- 
sterially ; " it is against all law." 

"Not in your presence, grave Pansa," returned Clodius, 
rattling the dice in a long box; "your presence restrains all 
license; it is not the thing, but the excess of the thing, that 
hurts." 

" What wisdom !" murmured the umbra. 

" Well, I will look another way," said the sedile. 

" Not yet, good Pansa ; let us wait till we have supped," said 
Glaucus. 

Clodius reluctantly yielded, concealing his vexation with a 
yawn. 

" He gapes to devour the gold," whispered Lepidus to Sallust, 
in a quotation from the Aulularia of Plautus. 

"Ah ! how well I know these polypi, who hold all they touch," 
answered Sallust, in the same tone, and out of the same play. 

The third course, consisting of a variety of fruits, pistachio 
nuts, sweetmeats, tarts, and confectionery tortured into a thou- 
sand fantastic and airy shapes, was now placed upon the table, 

See Note (c) at the end, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 29 

and the ministri, or attendants, also set their wine which had 
hitherto been handed round to the guests in large jugs of glass, 
each bearing upon it the schedule of its age and quality. 

"Taste this Lesbian, my Pansa," said Sallust ; "it is ex- 
cellent." 

" It is not very old," said Glaucus, " but it has been made pre- 
cocious, like ourselves, by being put to the fire : the wine to the 
flames of Vulcan we to those of his wife to whose honour I 
pour this cup." 

" It is delicate," said Pansa, "but there is perhaps the least 
particle too much of resin in its flavour." 

" What a beautiful cup !" cried Clodius, taking up one of trans- 
parent crystal, the handles of which were wrought with gems, and 
twisted in the shape of serpents, the favourite fashion at Pompeii. 

" This ring," said Glaucus, taking a costly jewel from the first 
joint of his finger and hanging it on the handle, "gives it a richer 
show, and renders it less unworthy of thy acceptance, my Clodius, 
whom may the gods give health and fortune long and oft to 
crown it to the brim 1" 

" You are too generous, Glaucus," said the gamester, handing 
the cup to his slave, " but your love gives it a double value." 

" This cup to the Graces !" said Pansa, and he thrice emptied 
his calix. The guests followed his example. 

" We have appointed no director to the feast," cried Sallust. 

" Let us throw for him, then," said Clodius, rattling the dice- 
box. 

"Nay," cried Glaucus, " No cold and trite director for us ; no 
dictator of the banquet ; no rex convivii. Have not the Romans 
sworn never to obey a king ? shall we be less free than your an- 
cestors ? Ho ! musicians, let us have the song I composed the 
other night ; it has a verse on this subject, ' The Bacchic hymn 
of the Hours.' " 

The musicians struck their instruments to a wild Ionic air, 
while the youngest voices in the band chanted forth i:i Greek 
words, as numbers, the following strain : 

THE EVENING HYMN OF THE HOUES. 

Through the summer day. through the weary day, 

We hare glided long ; 

Ere we speed to the Night through her portals grey, 
Hail us with song ! 
With song, with song, 
With a bright and joyous song 
Such as the Cretan maid. 

While the twilight made her bolder, 
Woke, high through the ivy shade, 
When the wine-god first consoled her. 



30 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

From the hush'd low-breathing skies, 
Half -shut look'd their starry eyes, 
And all around, 
With a loving sound, 

The 2Egean waves were creeping : 
On her lap lay the lynx's head ; 
Wild thyme was her bridal bed; 
And aye through each tiny space, 
In the green vine's green embrace, 
The Fauns were slyly peeping ; 

The Fauns, the prying Fauns 

The arch, the laughing Fauns 
The Fauns were slyly peeping ! 

Flagging and faint are we 
With our ceaseless flight, 
And dull shall our journey be 

Through the Realm of Night. 
Bathe us, O bathe our weary wings 
In the purple wave, as it freshly springs 

To your cups from the fount of light^- 
From the fount of light from the fount of light ; 
For there when the sun has gone down in night ; 

There in the bowl we find him. 
The grape is the well of that summer sun, 
Or rather the stream that he gazed upon, 
Till he left in truth, like the Thespian youth,* 
Wia soul, as he gazed behind him. 

A cup to Jove, and a cup to Love, 

And a cup to the son of Maia, 
And honour with three, the band zone-free. 

The band of the bright Aglaia. 
But since every bud in the wreath of pleasure, 

Ye owe to the sister Hours, 
No stinted cups, in a formal measure, 

The Bromian law makes ours. 
He honours us most who gives us most, 
And boasts with a Bacchanal's honest boast, 

He never will count the treasure. 
Fastly we fleet, then seize our wings, 
And plunge us deep in the sparkling springs ; 
And aye, as we rise with a dripping plume, 
We'll scatter the spray round the garland's bloom. 

We glow we glow. 

Behold, as the girls of the Eastern wave 
Bore once with a shout to their crystal cave 

The prize of the Mysian Hylas, 

Even so even so, 
We have caught the young god in our warm embrace, 

We hurry him on in our laughing race ; 
We hurry him on, with a whoop and song, 
The cloudy rivers of Night along 

Ho, ho f we have caught thee, Psilas ! 

The guests applauded loudly. When the poet is your host, 
his verses are sure to charm. 

Narcissus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 31 

" Thoroughly Greek," said Lepidus : " the wilderness, force, 
and energy of that tongue, it is impossible to imitate in the 
Roman poetry. 

"It is, indeed, a great contrast," said Clodius, ironically at 
heart, though not in appearance, ' ' to the old-fashioned and tame 
simplicity of that ode of Horace which we heard before. The air 
is beautifully Ionic : the word puts me in mind of a toast Com- 
panions, I give you the beautiful lone." 

" lone ! the name is Greek," said Glaucus, in a soft voice. " I 
drink the health with delight. But who is lone ?" 

"Ah! you have but just come to Pompeii, or you would 
deserve ostracism for your ignorance, " said Lepidus, conceited- 
ly: " not to know lone, is not to know the chief charm of our 
city." 

"She is of most rare beauty," said Pansa; "and what a 
voice." 

" She can feed only on nightingales' tongues," said Clodius. 

"Nightingales' tongues ! beautiful thought," sighed the umbra. 
" Enlighten me, I beseech you," said Glaucus. 

" Know then " began Lepidus. 

" Let me speak," cried Clodius ; "you drawl out your words 
as if you spoke tortoises." 

"And you speak stones," muttered the coxcomb to himself, as 
he fell back disdainfully on his couch. 

"Know then, my Glaucus," said Clodius, "that lone is a 
stranger who has but lately come to Pompeii. She sings like 
Sappho, and her songs are her own composing ; and as for the 
tibia, and the cithara, and the lyre, I know not in which she most 
outdoes the Muses. Her beauty is most dazzling. Her house is 
perfect ; such taste such gems such bronzes ! She is rich, and 
generous as she is rich." 

" Her lovers, of course," said Glaucus, "take care that she 
does not starve ; and money lightly won is always lavishly 
spent." 

" Her lovers ah, there is the enigma ! lone has but one vice 
she is chaste. She has all Pompeii at her feet, and she has no 
lovers ; she will not even marry." 

" No lovers !" echoed Glaucus. 

" No ; she has the soul of Vesta, with the girdle of Venus." 

'' What refined expressions !" said the umbra. 

" A miracle!" cried Glaucus. " Can we not see her?" 

"I will take you there this evening," said Clodius; "mean- 
while ," added he, once more rattling the dice. 

" I am yours 1" said the complacent Glaucus. " Pansa, turn 
your face." 



32 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Lepidus and Sallust played at odd-and-even, and the umbra 
looked on, while Glaucus and Clodius became gradually absorbed 
in the chances of dice. 

"Per Tove !" cried Glaucus, "this is the second time I have 
thrown me caniculse " the lowest throw. 

" Now Venus befriend me !" said Clodius, rattling the box for 
several moments. " O Alma Venus it is Venus herself," as he 
threw the highest cast, named from that goddess, whom he who 
wins money indeed usually propitiates ! 

" Venus is ungrateful to me," said Glaucus, gaily ; " I have 
always sacrificed on her altar." 

" He who plays with Clodius," whispered Lepidus, " will 
soon, like Plautus's Curculio, put his pallium for the stakes." 

" Poor Glaucus ! he is as blind as Fortune herself," replied 
Sallust, in the same tone. 

"I will play no more," said Glaucus; "I have lost thirty 
sestertia." 

" I am sorry " began Clodius. 

" Amiable man !" growled the umbra. 

" Not at all !" exclaimed Glaucus ; " the pleasure of your gain 
compensates the pain of my loss." 

The conversation now became general and animated ; the wine 
circulated more freely ; and lone once more became the subject 
of eulogy to the guests of Glaucus. 

"Instead of outwatching the stars, let us visit one at whose 
beauty the stars grow pale," said Lepisus. 

Clodius, who saw no chance of renewing the dice, seconded 
the proposal ; and Glaucus, though he civilly pressed his guests 
to continue the banquet, could not but let them see that his 
curiosity had been excited by the praises of lone. They there- 
fore resolved to adjourn all at least but Pansa and the umbra 
to the house of the fair Greek. They drunk therefore to the 
health of Glaucus and of Titus they performed their last liba- 
tion they resumed their slippers they descended the stairs 
passed the illumined atrium and walking unbitten over the fierce 
dog painted on the threshold, found themselves beneath the light 
of the moon just risen the lively and still crowded streets of 
Pompeii. 

They passed the jewellers' quarter, sparkling with lights, 
caught and reflected by the gems displayed in the shops, and 
arrived at last at the door of lone. The vestibule blazed with 
rows of lamps ; curtains of embroidered purple hung on either 
aperture of the tablinum, whose walls and mosaic pavement 
glowed with the richest colours of the artist ; and under the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 33 

portico which surrounded the odorous viridarium, they found 
lone already surrounded by adoring and applauding guests. 

" Did you say she was Athenian ?" whispered Glaucus, ere he 
passed into the peristyle. 

" No, she is from Neapolis." 

" Neapolis 1" echoed Glaucus ; and, at that moment, the group 
dividing on either side of lone, gave to his view that bright, that 
nymph-like beauty, which for months had shone down upon the 
waters of his memory. 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE TEMPLE OF ISIS. ITS PRIEST. THE CHARACTER OF 
ARBACES DEVELOPS ITSELF. 

THE story returns to the Egyptian. We left Arbaces upon 
the shores of the noon-day sea, after he had parted from 
Glaucus and his companion. As he aphroached to the more 
crowded part of the bay, he paused, and gazed upon that ani- 
mated scene with folded arms and a bitter smile upon his dark 
features. 

"Gulls, dupes, fools that ye are!" muttered he to himself; 
" whether business or pleasure, trade or religion be your pursuit, 
you are equally cheated by the passions that ye should rule ! 
How I could loathe you, if I did not hate yes, hate ! Greek or 
Roman, it is from us, from the dark lore of Egypt, that ye have 
stolen the fire that gives you souls your knowledge your poesy 
your laws your arts your barbarous mastery of war (all how 
tame and mutilated, when compared with the vast and the 
original !) ye have filched, as a slave filches the fragments of the 
feast, from us ! And now, ye mimics of a mimic, Romans for- 
sooth ! the mushroom herd of robbers ! ye are our masters ! 
The Pyramids look down no more on the race of Rameses the 
eagle cowers over the serpent of the Nile. Our masters no, 
not mine/ My soul, by the powers of its wisdom, controls and 
chains you, though the fetters are unseen. So long as craft can 
master force, so long as religion has a cave from which oracles 
can dupe mankind, the wise hold an empire over earth. Even 
from your vices Arbaces distils his pleasures : pleasures unpro- 
faned by vulgar eyes pleasures vast, wealthy, inexhaustible, of 
which your enervate minds, in their unimaginative sensuality, 
cannot conceive or dream ! Plod on, plod on, fools of ambition 
and of avarice ! your petty thirst for fasces and qusestorships, 
and all the mummery of servile power, provokes my laughter 
and my scorn. My power can extend wherever man believes. I 
ride over the souls that the purple veils. Thebes may fall, Egypt 
be a name ; the world itself furnishes the subjects of Arbaces." 

c 



34 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Thus saying, the Egytian moved slowly on ; and, entering the 
town, his tall figure towered above the crowded throng of the 
forum, and swept towards the small but graceful temple conse- 
crated to Isis. (d)* 

That edifice was then but of recent erection ; the ancient tem- 
ple had been thrown down in the earthquake sixteen years be- 
fore, and the new building had become as much in vogue with 
the versatile Pompeians as a new church or a new preacher may 
be with us. The oracles of the goddess at Pompeii were indeed 
remarkable, not more for the mysterious language in which they 
were clothed, than for the credit which was attached to their 
mandates and predictions. If they were not dictated by a 
divinity, they were framed at least by a profound knowledge of 
mankind ; they applied themselves exactly to the circumstances 
of individuals, and made a notable contrast to the vague and 
loose generalities of their rival temples. As Arbaces now arrived 
at the rails which separated the profane from the sacred place, 
a crowd composed of all classes, but especially of the commercial, 
collected, breathless and reverential, before the many altars 
which rose in the open court. In the walls of the cella, elevated 
on seven steps of Parian marble, various statues stood in niches, 
and those walls were ornamented with the pomegranate conse- 
crated to Isis. An oblong pedestal occupied the interior build- 
ing, on which stood two statues, one of Isis, and its companion 
represented the silent and mystic Orus. But the building con- 
tained many other deities to grace the court of the Egyptian 
deity: her kindred and many-titled Bacchus, and the* Cyprian 
Venus, a Grecian disguise for herself, rising from her bath, and 
the dog-headed Anubis, and the ox Apis, and various Egyptian 
idols of uncouth form and unknown appellations. 

But we must not suppose that, among the cities of Magna 
Grsecia, Isis was worshipped with those forms and ceremonies 
which were of right her own. The mongrel and modern nations 
of the South, with a mingled arrogance and ignorance, con- 
founded the worships of all climes and ages. And the profound 
mysteries of the Nile were degraded by a hundred meretricious 
and frivolous admixtures from the creeds of Cephisus and of 
Tibur. The temple of Isis in Pompeii was served by Roman 
and Greek priests, ignorant alike of the language and the 
customs of her ancient votaries ; and the descendant of the 
dread Egyptian kings, beneath the appearance of reverential 
awe, secretly laughed to scorn the puny mummeries which 
imitated the solemn and typical worship of his burning clime. 

Ranged now on either side the steps was the sacrificial crowd, 

See Note Wat the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 35 

arrayed in white garments, while at the summit stood two of the 
inferior priests, the one holding a. palm branch, the other a 
slender sheaf of corn. In the narrow passage in front thronged 
the bystanders. 

"And what," whispered Arbaces to one of the bystanders, 
who was a merchant engaged in the Alexandrian trade, which 
trade had probably first introduced in Pompeii the worship of 
the Egyptian goddess, "what occasion now assembles you 
before the altars of the venerable Isis? It seems by the 
white robes of the group before me, that a sacrifice is to be 
rendered ; and by the assembly of the priests, that ye are pre- 
pared for some oracle. To what question is it to vouchsafe a 
reply?" 

" We are merchants," replied the bystander, who was no 
other than Diomed, in the same voice, " who seek to know the 
fate of our vessels, which sail for Alexandria to-morrow. We 
are about to offer up a sacrifice and implore an answer from the 
goddess. I am not one of those who have petitioned the priest 
to sacrifice, as you may see by my dress ; but I have some 
interest in the success of the fleet. By Jupiter! yes. I have a 
pretty trade, else how could I live in these hard times?" 

The Egyptian replied gravely "that though Isis was properly 
the goddess of agriculture, she was no less the patron of com- 
merce." Then turning his head towards the east, Arbaces seemed 
absorbed in silent prayer. 

And now in the centre of the steps appeared a priest robed in 
white from head to foot, the veil parting over the crown ; two 
new priests relieved those hitherto stationed at either corner, 
being naked half-way down the breast, and covered, for the rest, 
in white and loose robes. At the same time, seated at the bot- 
tom of the steps, a priest commenced a solemn air upon a long 
wind instrument of music. Half way down the steps stood an- 
other flamer, holding in one hand the votive wreath, in the other 
a white wand ; while, adding to the picturesque scene of that 
eastern ceremony, the stately Ibis bird sacred to the Egyptian 
worship looked mutely down from the wall upon the rite, or 
stalked beside the altar at the base of the steps. 

At that altar now stood the sacrificial flamen.* 

The countenance of Arbaces seemed to lose all its rigid calm 
while the aruspices inspected the entrails, and to be intent in 
pious anxiety to rejoice and brighten as the signs were declared 
favourable, and the fire began bright and clearly to consume the 

See a singular picture in the Museum of Naples, of an Esyptian 
eacrilice. 



36 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

sacred portion of the victim amidst odours of myrrh and frank- 
incense. It was then that a dead silence fell over the whispering 
crowd ; and the priests gathering round the cella, another priest, 
naked, save by a cincture round the middle, rushed forward, and 
dancing with wild gestures, implored an answer from the goddess. 
He ceased at last in exhaustion, and a low murmuring noise was 
heard within the body of the statue. Thrice the head moved, and 
the lips parted, and then a hollow voice uttered these mystic 
words : 

"There are waves like chargers that meet and glow, " 
There are graves ready wrought in the rocks below ; 
On the brow of the Future the dangers lower, 
But blest are your barks in the fearful hour." 

The voice ceased the crowd breathed more freely the mer- 
chants looked at each other. "Nothing can be more plain," 
murmured Diomed ; " there is to be a storm at sea, as there very 
often is at the beginning of autumn, but our vessels are to be 
saved. O beneficent Isis !" 

"Lauded eternally be the goddess!" said the merchants; 
" what can be less equivocal than her prediction?" 

Raising one hand in sign of silence to the people, for the rites 
of Isis enjoined what to the lively Pompeians was an impossible 
suspence from the use of the vocal organs, the chief priest pour- 
ed his libation on the altar, and after a short concluding prayer, 
the ceremony was over and the congregation dismissed. Still, 
however, as the crowd dispersed themselves here and there, the 
Egyptian lingered by the railing, and when the space became 
tolerably cleared, one of the priests approaching it, saluted him 
with great appearance of friendly familiarity. 

The countenance of the priest was remarkably unprepossessing ; 
his shaven skull was so low and narrow in the front as nearly to 
approach to the confirmation of that of an African savage, save 
only towards the temples, where, in that organ styled aquisitive- 
ness by the pupils of a science modern in name, but less practi- 
cally known, as their sculpture teaches us, amongst the ancients, 
two huge and almost preternatural protuberances yet more dis- 
torted the unshapely head ; around the brows the skin was 
puckered into a web of deep and intricate wrinkles ; the eyes, 
dark and small, rolled in a muddy and yellow orbit ; the nose, 
short yet coarse, was distended at the nostrils like a satyr's ; and 
the thick but pallid lips, the high cheek-bones, the livid and mot- 
ley hues that straggled through the parchment skin, completed 
a countenance which none could behold without repugnance, and 
a few without terror and distrust. Whatever the wishes of the 
mind, the animal frame was well fitted to execute them ; the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 37 

wiry muscles of the throat, the broad chest, the nervous hands 
and lean guant arms, which were bared above the elbow, be- 
tokened a form capable alike of great active exertion and passive 
endurance. 

" Calenus," said the Egyptian to this fascinating flamen, "you 
have improved the voice of the statue much by attending to my 
suggestion ; and your verses are excellent ; always prophecy 
good fortune, unless there is an absolute impossibility of its ful- 
filment." 

" Besides," added Calenus, " if the storm does come, and if it 
does overwhelm the accursed ships, have we not prophesied it ? 
and are the barks not blest to be at rest ? for rest prays the 
mariner in the .ZEgzean sea, or at least so says Horace ; can the 
mariner be more at rest in the sea than when he is at the bottom 
of it?" 

"Right, my Calenus ; I wish Apsecides would take a lesson 
from your wisdom. But I desire to confer with you relative to 
him and to other matters : you can admit me into one of your 
less sacred apartments'" 

"Assuredly," replied the priest, leading the way to one of the 
small chambers which surrounded the open gate. Here they 
seated themselves before a small table spread with dishes con- 
taining fruit and eggs, and various cold meats, with vases of ex- 
cellent wine, of which, while the companions partook, a curtain, 
drawn across the entrance opening to the court, concealed them 
from view, but admonished them by the thinness of the partition 
to speak low or to speak no secrets : they chose the former alter- 
native. 

"Thou knowest," said Arbaces, in a voice that scarcely stirred 
the air, so soft and inward was its sound, ' ' that it has ever been 
my maxim to attach myself to the young. From their flexile and 
unformed minds I can carve out my fittest tools. I weave I 
warp I mould them at my will. Of the men I make merely fol- 
lowers or servants ; of the women " 

" Mistresses," said Calenus, as a livid grin distorted his ungain- 
ly features. 

"Yes, I do not disguise it, woman is the main object the 
great appetite of my soul, As you feed the victim for the slaugh- 
ter, / love to rear the voteries of my pleasure. I love to train, to 
ripen their minds, to unfold the sweet blossom of their hidden 
passions, in order to prepare the fruit to my tastes. I loathe 
your ready-made and ripened courtesans ; it is in the soft and 
unconscious progress of innocence to desire that I find the true 
charm of love : it is thus that I defy satiety ; and by contemplat- 
ing the freshness of others, I sustain the freshness of my own 



38 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

sensations. From the young hearts of my victims I draw the in 
gredients of the cauldron in which I re-youth myself. But 
enough of this : to the subject before us. You know, then, that 
in Neapolis some time since I encountered lone and Apaecides, 
brother and sister, the children of Athenians who had settled at 
Neapolis. The death of their parents, who knew and esteemed 
me, constituted me their guardian. I was not unmindful of the 
trust. The youth, docile and mild, yielded readily to the im- 
pression I sought to stamp upon him. Next to woman, I love 
the old recollections of my ancestral land ; I love to keep alive, 
to propagate on distant shores, which her colonies perchance yet 
people, her dark and mystic creeds. It may be that it pleases 
me to delude mankind, while I thus serve the deities. To Apae- 
cides I taught the solemn faith of Isis. I unfolded to him some- 
thing of those sublime allegories which are couched beneath her 
worship. I excited in a soul peculiarly alive to religious fervour 
that enthusiasm which imagination begets on faith. I have 
placed him amongst you : he is one of you." 

" He is so," said Calenus ; but in thus stimulating his faith, 
you have robbed him of wisdom. He is horrorstruck that he is 
no longer duped : our sage delusions our speaking statues and 
sacred staircases, dismay and revolt him ; he pines ; he wastes 
away ; he mutters to himself ; he refuses to share our ceremonies. 
He has been known to frequent the company of men suspected 
of adherence to that new and atheistical creed which denies all 
our gods, and terms our oracles the inspirations of that malevo- 
lent spirit of which Eastern tradition speaks. Our oracles alas ! 
we know well whose inspiration they are !" 

"This is what I feared," said Arbaces, musingly, "from vari- 
ous reproaches he made me when I last saw him. Of late he 
hath shunned my steps ; I must find him : I must continue my 
lessons : I must lead him into the Adytus of Wisdom. I must 
teach him that there are two stages of sanctity the first FAITH 
the next, DELUSION : the one for the vulgar the second for 
the sage." 

" I never passed through the first," said Calenus; "nor you 
either, 1 think, my Arbaces." 

" You err," replied the Egyptian, gravely. " I believe at this 
day, not indeed that which I teach, but that which I teach not 
Nature has a sanctity against which I cannot (nor would I) steel 
conviction. I believe in mine own knowledge, and that has re- 
vealed to me, but no matter ! Now to earthlier and more in- 
viting themes. If I thus fulfilled my object with Apnscides, what 
was my design for lone? Thou knowest already I intend her 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 39 

for my queen my bride my heart's Isis. Never till I saw her 
knew I all the love of which my nature was capable." 

"I hear from a thousand lips that she is a second Helen," 
said Calenus, and he smacked his own lips, but whether at the 
wine or at the notion it is not easy to decide. 

"Yes, she has a beauty that Greece itself never excelled," re- 
sumed Arbaces. " But that is not all : she has a soul worthy to 
match with mine. She has a genius beyond that of woman 
keen, dazzling, bold. Poetry flows spontaneous to her lips : 
utter but a truth, and, however intricate and profound, her mind 
seizes and commands it. Her imagination and her reason are 
not at war with each other ; they harmonize and direct her course 
as the winds and the waves direct some lofty barque. With this 
she unites a daring independence of thought ; she can stand 
alone in the world ; she can be brave as she is gentle : this is the 
nature I have sought all my life in woman, and never found till 
now. lone must be mine ! In her I have a double passion ; I 
wish to enjoy a beauty of spirit as of form." 

"She is not yours yet, then?" said the priest. 

" No : she loves me but as a friend : she loves me with her 
mind only. She fancies in me the paltry virtues which I have 
only the profounder virtue to disdain. But you must pursue 
with me her history. The brother and sister were young and 
rich : lone is proud and ambitious proud of her genius the 
magic of her poetry the charm of her conversation. When her 
brother left me and entered your temple in order to be near him 
she removed also to Pompeii. She has suffered her talents to be 
known. She summons crowds to her feasts ; her voice enchants 
them ; her poetry subdues. She delights in being thought the 
successor of Erinna." 

" Or of Sappho ?" 

" But Sappho without love ! I encouraged her in this boldness 
of career in this indulgence of vanity and of pleasure. I loved 
to steep her amidst the dissipations and luxury of this abandoned 
city. Mark me, Calenus ! I desired to enervate her mind ! it 
has been too pure to receive yet the breath which I wish not to 
pass, but burningly to eat into, the crystal mirror. I wished her 
to be surrounded by lovers, hollow, vain, and frivolous, lovers 
that her nature must despise, in order to feel the want of love. 
Then, in those soft intervals of lassitude that succeed to excite- 
ment, I can weave my spells excite her interest attract her 
passions possess myself of her heart. For it is not the young, 
nor the beautiful, nor the gay, that alone can fascinate lone ; her 
imagination must be won, and the life of Arbaces has been one 
scene of triumph over the imaginations of his kind," 



40 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"And hast them no fear, then, of thy rivals? The gallants of 
Italy, are skilled in the art to please." 

" None ! her Greek soul despises the barbarian Romans, and 
would scorn itself if it admitted a thought of love for one of that 
upstart race." 

" But thou art an Egyptian, not a Greek t" 

" Egypt," replied Arbaces, "is the mother of Athens. Her 
tutelary Minerva is our deity ; and her founder Cecrops was the 
fugitive of Egyptian Sais. This have I already taught to her ; 
and in my blood she venerates the eldest dynasties of earth. But 
yet I will own that of late some uneasy suspicions have crossed 
my mind. She is more silent than she used to be ; she loves 
melancholy and subduing music ; she sighs without an outward 
cause. This may be the beginning of love it may be the want 
of love. In either case it is time for me to begin my operations 
on her fancies and her heart : in one case, to divert the source of 
love to me ; in the other, in me to awaken it. It is for this that 
I have sought you." 

" And how can I assist you?" 

" I am about to invite her to a feast in my house : I wish to 
dazzle to bewilder to inflame her senses. Our arts the arts 
by which Egypt trained her young noviciates, must be employed ; 
and, under veil of the mysteries of religion, I will open to her the 
secrets of love." 

' ' Ah now I understand : one of these voluptuous banquets 
that, despite our dull vows of mortified coldness, we, thy priests 
of Isis, have shared at thy house." 

" No, no ! Thinkest thou her chaste eyes are ripe for such 
scenes? No: but first we must ensnare the brother, an easier 
task. Listen to me, while I give you my instructions." 

CHAPTER V. 

MORE OF THE FLOWER-GIRL. THE PROGRESS OF LOVE. 

THE sun shone gaily into that beautiful chamber in the house 
of Glaucus, which I have before said is now called " the 
Room of Leda." The morning rays entered through rows of 
small casements at the higher part of the room, and through the 
door which opened on the garden, that answered to the in- 
habitants of the southern cities the same purpose that a green- 
house or conservatory does to us. The size of the garden did 
not adapt it for exercise, but the various and fragrant plants with 
which it was filled gave a luxury to that indolence so dear to the 
dwellers in a sunny clime. And now the odours, fanned by a 
gentle wind creeping from the adjacent sea, scattered themselves 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 41 

over that chamber, whose walls vied with the richest colours 
of the most glowing flowers. Besides the gem of the room, the 
painting of Leda and Tyndarus, in the centre of each compart- 
ment of the walls were set other pictures of exquisite beauty. In 
one you saw Cupid leaning on the knees of "Venus ; in another, 
Ariadne sleeping on the beach unconscious of the perfidy of 
Thesus. Merrily the sunbeams played to and fro on the tesselat- 
ed floor and the brillant walls ; far more happily came the rays 
of joy to the heart of the young Glaucus. 

"I have seen her, then," said he, as he paced that narrow 
chamber ; " I have heard her ; nay, I have spoken to her again ; I 
have listened to the music of her song, and she sung of glory and 
of Greece. I have discovered the long-sought idol of my dreams, 
and, like the Cyprian sculptor, I have breathed life into my own 
imaginings." 

Longer, perhaps, had been the enamoured soliloquy of Glau- 
cus, but at that moment a shadow darkened the threshold of the 
chamber, and a young female, still half a child in years, broke 
upon his solitude. She was dressed simply in a white tunic, 
which reached from the neck to the ankles ; under her arm she 
bore a basket of flowers, and in the other hand she held a bronze 
water-vase ; her features were more formed than exactly became 
her years, yet they were soft and feminine in their outline, and, 
without being beautiful in themselves, they were almost made so 
by their beauty of expression ; there was something ineffably 
gentle, and you would say patient in her aspect a look of re- 
signed sorrow, of tranquil endurance, had banished the smile 
but not the sweetness from her lips ? something timid and cau- 
tious in her step, something wandering in her eyes, led you to 
suspect the affliction which she had suffered from her birth : she 
was blind ; but in the orbs themselves there was no visible defect, 
their melancholy and subdued light was clear, cloudless, and 
serene. " They tell me that Glaucus is here," said she. " May 
I come in?" 

"Ah, my Nydia," said the Greek, " is that you? I knew you 
would not neglect my invitation." 

" Glaucus did but justice to himself," answered Nydia, with a 
blush ; " for he has always been kind to the poor blind girl." 

" Who could be otherwise?" said Glaucus, tenderly, and in the 
voice of a compassionate brother. 

Nydia sighed and paused before she resumed, without replying 
to his remark. " You have but lately returned?" 

" This is the sixth sun that hath shone upon me at Pompeii." 

" And you are well? Ah, I need not ask, for who that sees the 
earth, which they tell me is so beautiful, can be ill?" 



42 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" I am well and you, Nydia? how you have grown! Next 
year you will be thinking of what answer we shall make your 
lovers." 

A second blush passed over the cheek of Nydia, but this time 
she frowned as she blushed. " I have brought you some flowers." 
said she, without replying to a remark that she seemed to resent, 
and feeling about the room till she found the table that stood by 
Glaucus, she laid the basket upon it : " they are poor, but they 
are fresh gathered." 

"They might come from Flora herself," said he, kindly; 
" and I renew again my vow to the Graces that I will wear no 
other garlands while thy hands can weave me such as these." 

"And how find you the flowers in your viridarium? are they 
thriving?" 

"Wonderfully so; the Lares themselves must have tended 
them." 

"Ah, now you give me pleasure, for I came as often as I 
could steal the leisure, to water and tend them in your absence." 

"How shall I thank thee, fair Nydia?" said the Greek. 
" Glaucus little dreamed that he left one memory so watchful 
over his favourites at Pompeii." 

The hand of the child trembled, and her breast heaved beneath 
her tunic. She turned round in embarrassment. ' ' The sun is 
hot for the poor flowers," said she, " to-day, and they will miss 
me, for I have been ill lately, and it is nine days since I visited 
them." 

" 111, Nydia ! yet your cheek has more colour than it had last 
year." 

" I am often ailing," said the blind girl, touchingly, "and as 
I grow up I grieve more that I am blind. But now to the 
flowers !" So saying, she made a slight reverence with her head, 
and, passing into the viridarium, busied herself with watering the 
flowers. 

"Poor Nydia," thought Glaucus, gazing on her; "thine is a 
hard doom. Thou seest not the earth nor the sun nor the 
ocean nor the stars ; above all, thou canst not behold lone." 

At that last thought his mind flew back to the past evening, 
and was a second time disturbed in its reveries by the entrance of 
Clodius. It was a remarkable thing, and a proof how much a 
single evening had sufficed to increase and to refine the love of 
the Athenian for lone, that whereas he had confided to Clodius 
the secret of his first interview with her, and the effect it had 
produced on him, he now felt an invincible aversion even to men- 
tion to him her name. He had seen lone, bright, pure, un- 
sullied, in the midst of the gayest and most profligate gallants of 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 43 

Pompeii, charming rather than awing the boldest into respect, 
and changing the very nature of the most sensual and the least 
ideal as, by her intellectual and refining spells, she reversed the 
fable of Circe, and converted the animals into men. They who 
could not understand her soul were etherealised, as it were, by 
the magic of her beauty ; they who had no heart for poetry had 
ears at least for the melody of her voice. Seeing her thus sur- 
rounded, purifying and brightening all things with her presence, 
Glaucus almost for the first time felt that of which his own nature 
was capable ; he felt how unworthy of the goddess of his dreams 
had been his companions and his pursuits. A veil seemed lifted 
from his eyes ; he saw that immeasurable distance between him- 
self and his associates which the deceiving mists of pleasure had 
hitherto concealed ; he was refined by a sense of his courage in 
aspiring to lone. He felt that henceforth it was his destiny to 
look upward and to soar. He could no longer breathe that 
name, which sounded to the sense of his ardent fancy as some- 
thing sacred and divine, to lewd and vulgar ears. She was no 
longer the beautiful girl once seen and passionately remembered : 
she was already the mistress, the divinitv of his soul. This feel- 
ing, who has not experienced ? If thou hast not, then thou hast 
never loved ! 

When Clodius, therefore, spoke to him in affected transports 
of the beauty of lone, Glaucus felt only resentment and disgust 
that such lips should dare to praise her ; he answered coldly, and 
the Roman imagined that his passion was cured, instead of 
heightened. Clodius scarcely regretted it, for he was anxious 
that Glaucus should marry an heiress yet more richly endowed 
Julia, the daughter of the wealthy Diomed, whose gold the 
gamester imagined he could readily divert into his own coffers. 
Their conversation did not flow with its usual ease, and no sooner 
had Clodius left him than Glaucus bent his way to the house of 
lone. In passing by the threshold, he again encountered Nydia, 
who had finished her graceful task. She knew his step on the 
instant. 

" You are early abroad," said she. 

' ' Yes ; for the skies of Campania rebuke the sluggard who neg- 
lects them." 

" Ah, would I could see them !" murmured the blind girl, but 
so low that Glaucus did not overhear the complaint. 

The Thessalian lingered on the threshold a few moments, and 
then, guiding her steps by a long staff, which she used with great 
dexterity, she. took her way homeward. She soon turned from 
the more gaudy streets, and entered a quarter of the town but 
little loved by the decorous and the sober. But from the low and 



44 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

rude evidences of vice around her, she was saved by her misfor- 
tune. And at that hour the streets were quiet and silent, nor 
was her youthful ear shocked by the sounds which too often broke 
along the obscene and obscure haunts she patiently and sadly 
traversed. 

She knocked at the back door of a sort of tavern ; it opened, 
and a rude voice bade her give an account of the sesterces. 
Ere she could reply, another voice, less vulgarly accented, said : 

' ' Never mind those pretty profits, my Burbo. The girl's 
voice will be wanted again soon at our rich friend's revels ; 
and he pays, as thou knowest, pretty high for his nightingales' 
tongues." 

"Oh, I hope not I trust not," cried Nydia, trembling; "I 
will beg from sunrise to sunset, but send me not there." 

"And why?" asked the same voice. 

" Because because I am young, and delicately born, and the 
female companions I met there are not fit associates for one who 
who " 

" Is a slave in the house of Burbo," returned the voice, ironi- 
cally, and with a course laugh. 

The Thessalian put down the flowers, and, leaning her face on 
her hands, wept silently. 

Meanwhile, Glaucus sought the house of the beautiful Nea- 
politan. He found lone sitting among her attendants, who were 
at work around her. Her harp stood at her side, for lone her- 
self was unusually idle, perhaps unusually thoughtful that day. 
He thought her even more beautiful by the morning light, and in 
her simple robe, than amidst the blazing lamps and decorated 
with the costly jewels of the previous night ; not the less so from 
a certain paleness that overspread her transparent hues ; not the 
less so from the blush that mounted over them when he ap- 
proached. Accustomed to flatter, flattery died upon his lips 
when he addressed lone. He felt it beneath her to utter the 
homage which every look conveyed. They spoke of Greece : 
this was a theme on which lone loved rather to listen than to 
converse ; it was a theme on which the Greek could have been 
eloquent for ever. He described to her the silver groves that 
yet clad the banks of Ilyssus, and the temples, already despoiled 
of half their glories, but how beautiful in decay! He looked 
back on the melancholy city of Harmodius the free, and Pericles 
the magnificent, from the height of that distant memory, in 
which all the ruder and darker shades were mellowed into 
light. He had seen the land of poetry chiefly in the poetical 
age of early youth ; and the associations of patriotism were 
blended with those of the flush and spring of life. And lone 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 45 

listened to him, absorbed and mute ; dearer were those accents 
and those descriptions than all the prodigal adulation of her 
numberless adorers. Was it a sin to love her countryman ? She 
loved Athens in him the gods of her race, the land of her 
dreams, spoke to her in his voice ! From that time they daily 
saw each other. At the cool of the evening they made excur- 
sions on the placid sea. By night they met again in Tone's porti- 
coes and halls. Their love was sudden, but it was strong ; it 
filled all the sources of their life. Heart brain sense imagina- 
tion, all were its ministers and priests. As you take some ob- 
stacle from two objects that have a mutual attraction, they met, 
and united at once ; their wonder was, that they had lived 
separate so long. And it was natural that they should so love. 
Young, beautiful, and gifted of the same birth and the same 
souls there was poetry in their union. They imagined the 
heavens smiled upon their affection. As the prosecuted 
seek refuge at the shrine, so they recognised in the altar of 
their love an asylum from the sorrows of earth ; they covered 
it with flowers ; they knew not of the serpents that lay coiled 
behind. 

One evening, the fifth after the first meeting at Pompeii, Glau- 
cus and lone, with a small party of chosen friends, were return- 
ing from an excursion round the bay ; their vessel skimmed lightly 
over the twilight waters, whose lucid mirror was only broken by 
the dripping oars. As the rest of the party conversed gaily with 
each other, Glaucus lay at the feet of lone, and he would have 
looked up in her face, but he did not dare. lone broke the pause 
between them. 

" My poor brother!" said she, sighing, " how once you would 
have enjoyed this hour !" 

" Your brother !" said Glaucus, " I have not seen him. Occu- 
pied with you, I have thought of nothing else, or I should have 
asked if that was not your brother for whose companionship you 
left me at the Temple of Minerva, in Neapolis?" 

'It was." 

1 And is he here ?" 

He is." 

'At Pompeii ! and not constantly with you? Impossible!" 

' He has other duties," answered lone, sadly ; " he is a priest 
of Isis." 

" So young, too ; and that priesthood, in its laws at least, so 
s:vere !" said the warm and bright-hearted Greek, in surprise and 
pity. " What could have been his inducement?" 

" He was always enthusiastic and fervent in religious devotion; 
and the eloquence of an Egyptian our friend and guardian 



46 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

kindled in him the pious desire to consecrate his life to the most 
mystic of our deities. Perhaps, in the intenseness of his zeal, he 
found in the severity of that peculiar priesthood its peculiar 
attraction." 

" And he does not repent his choice? I trust he is happy?" 

lone sighed deeply, and lowered her veil over her eyes. 

" I wish," said she, after a pause, " that he had not been so 
hasty. Perhaps, like all who expect too much, he is revolted too 
easily." 

" Then he is not happy in his new condition. And this Egyp- 
tian, was he a priest himself? was he interested in recruits to the 
sacred band?" 

" No ; his main interest was in our happiness. He thought ha 
promoted that of my brother. We were left orphans." 

" Like myself," said Glaucus, with a deep meaning in his 
voice. 

lone cast down her eyes as she resumed 

" And Arbaces sought to supply the place of our parent. You 
must know him. He loves genius." 

" Arbaces ! I know him already ; at least we speak when we 
meet. But for your praise, I would not seek to know more of 
him. My heart inclines readily to most of my kind. But that 
dark Egyptian, with his gloomy brow and icy smile, seems to me 
to sadden the very sun. One would think that, like Epimenides 
the Cretan, he had spent forty years in a cave, and had found 
something unnatural in the daylight ever afterwards." 

" Yet, like Epimenides, he is kind, and wise, and gentle," 
answered lone. 

" Oh, happy that he has thy praise ! He needs no other virtues 
to make him dear to me." 

" His calm, his coldness," said lone, evasively pursuing the 
subject, " are perhaps but the exhaustion of past sufferings; as 
yonder mountain (and she pointed to Vesuvius) which we see 
dark and tranquil in the distance, once nursed the fires for ever 
quenched." 

They both gazed on the mountain as lone said these words ; 
the rest of the sky was bathed in rosy and tender hues, but over 
that grey summit, rising amidst the woods and vineyards that 
then climbed half way up the ascent, there hung a black and 
ominious cloud, the single frown of the landscape. A sudden 
and unaccountable gloom came over each as they thus gazed ; 
and in that sympathy which love had already taught them, and 
which bade them, in the slightest shadows of emotion, the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 47 

faintest presentiment of evil, turn for refuge to each other, their 
gaze at the same moment left the mountain, and, full of unim- 
aginable tenderness, met. What need had they of words to say 
they loved ? 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE FOWLER SNARES AGAIN THE BIRD THAT HAD JUST 
ESCAPED, AND SETS HIS NETS FOR A NEW VICTIM. 

IN the history I relate, the events are crowded and rapid as those 
of the drama. 1 write of an epoch in which days sufficed to 
ripen the ordinary fruits of years. 

^ Meanwhile, Arbaces had not of late much frequented the house 
of lone, and when he had visited her he had not encountered 
Glaucus, nor knew he, as yet, of that love which had so sudden- 
ly sprang up between himself and his designs. In his interest 
for the brother of lone, he had been forced too, a little while, to 
suspend his interest in lone herself. His pride and his selfish- 
ness were aroused and alarmed at the sudden change which had 
come over the spirit of the youth. He trembled lest he himself 
should lose a docile pupil, and Isis an enthusiastic servant. 
Aprecides had ceased to seek or to consult him. He was rarely 
to be found ; he turned sullenly from the Egyptian, nay, he fled 
when he perceived him in the distance. Arbaces was one of 
those haughty and powerful spirits accustomed to master others ; 
he chafed at the notion that one, once his own, should ever 
elude his grasp. He swore inly that Apascides should not escape 
him. 

It was with this resolution that he passed through a thick 
grove in the city, which lay between his house and that of lone, 
in his way to the latter ; and there, leaning against a tree, and 
gazing on the ground, he came unawares on the young priest of 
Isis. 

"Apascides ! " said he, and he laid his hand affectionately on 
the young man's shoulder. 

The priest started, and his first instinct seemed to be that of 
flight. " My son," said the Egyptian, "what has chanced that 
you desire to shun me ?" 

Apascides remained silent and sullen, looking down on the 
earth, as his lips quivered, and his breast heaved with emotion. 

" Speak to me, my friend," continued the Egyptian. " Speak. 
Something burdens thy spirits. What has thou to reveal ?" 

" To thee nothing," 

"And why is it to me thou art thus unconfidential ?" 

" Because thou hast been my enemy." 



4-8 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Let us confer," said Arbaces, in a low voice ; and drawing 
the reluctant arm of the priest in his own, he led him to one of 
the seats which were scattered within the grove. They sat down, 
and in those gloomy forms there was something congenial to the 
shade and solitude of the place. 

Apsecides was in the spring of his years, yet he seemed to 
have exhausted even more of life than the Egyptian his delicate 
and regular features were worn and colourless his eyes were 
hollow and shone with a brilliant and feverish glare his frame 
bowed prematurely, and in his hands, which were small to 
effeminacy, the blue and swollen veins indicated the lassitude 
and weakness of the relaxed fibres you saw in his face a strong 
resemblance to lone, but the expression was altogether different 
from that majestic and spiritual calm which breathed so divine 
and classical repose over his sister's beauty. In her, enthusiasm 
was visible, but it seemed always suppressed and restrained ; this 
made the charm and sentiment of her countenance ; you longed 
to awaken a spirit which reposed, but evidently did not sleep. 
In Apsecides the whole aspect betokened the fervour and passion 
of his temperament, and the intellectual portion of his nature 
seemed, by the wild fire of the eyes, the great breadth of the 
temples, when compared with the height of the brow, the 
trembling restlessness of the lips, to be swayed and tyrranised 
over by the imaginative and ideal. Fancy, with the sister, had 
stopped short at the golden goal of poetry ; with her brother, 
less happy, and less restrained, it had wandered into visions more 
intangible and unembodied ; and the faculties which gave genius 
to the one, threatened madness to the other. 

" You say I have been your enemy," said Arbaces ; " I know 
the cause of that unjust accusation : I have placed you amidst 
the priests of Isis ; you are revolted at their trickeries and 
imposture ; you think that I too have deceived you ; the purity 
of your mind is offended ; you imagine that I am one of the 
deceitful " 

"You knew the jugglings of that impious craft," answered 
Apascides ; " why did you disguise them from me? When you 
excited my desire to devote myself to the office whose garb I 
bear, you spoke to me of the holy life of men resigning them- 
selves to knowledge you have given me for companions an ig- 
norant and sensual herd, who have no knowledge but that of 
the grossest frauds ; you spoke to me of men sacrificing the 
earlier pleasures to the sublime cultivation of virtue you place 
me amongst men reeking with all the filthiness of vice ; you 
spoke to me of the friends, the enlighteners of our common kind 
I see but their cheats and deluders ! Oh, it was basely done I 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 49 

You have robbed me of the glory of youth, of the convictions of 
of virtue, of the sanctifying thirst after wisdom. Young as I was, 
rich, fervent, the sunny pleasures of earth before me, I resigned 
all without a sigh nay, with happiness and exultation, in the 
thought that I resigned them for the abstruse mysteries of diviner 
wisdom for the companionship of gods for the revelations of 
heaven ; and now now ' 

Convulsive sobs checked the priest's voice ; he covered his face 
with his hands, and large tears forced themselves through the 
wasted fingers, and ran profusely down his vest. 

" What I promised to thee, that will I give, my friend, my 
pupil ; these have been but trials to thy virtue ; it comes forth the 
brighter for thy novitiate ; think no more of those dull cheats ; 
assort no more with those menials of the goddess the atrienses* 
of her hall ; you are worthy to enter into the penetralia ; I hence- 
forth will be your priest, your guide ; and you who now curse my 
friendship shall live to bless it!" 

The young man lifted up his head and gazed with a vacant and 
wondering stare upon the Egyptian. 

" Listen to me," continued Arbaces, in an earnest and solemn 
voice, casting first his searching eyes around to see that they 
were still alone. " From Egypt came all the knowledge of the 
world ; from Egypt came the lore of Athens, and the profound 
policy of Crete ; from Egypt came those early and mysterious 
tribes which, long before the hordes of Romulus swept over the 
plains of Italy, and in the eternal cycle of events drove back 
civilisation into barbarism and darkness, possessed all the arts 
of wisdom and the graces of intellectual life. From Egypt came 
the rites and the grandeur of that solemn Cxre, whose inhabit- 
ants taught their iron vanquishers of Rome all that they yet 
know of elevated in religion and sublime in worship. And how 
deemest thou, young man, that that dread Egypt, the mother of 
countless nations, achieved her greatness, and soared to her cloud- 
capt eminence of wisdom ? It was the result of a profound and 
holy policy. Your modern nations owe their greatness to Egypt 
Egypt her greatness to her priests. Rapt in themselves, 
coveting a sway over the nobler part of man, his soul and his 
belief, these ancient ministers of God were inspired with the 
grandest thought that ever occurred to mortals. From the revo- 
lutions of the stars, from the seasons of the earth, from the 
round and unvarying circle of human destinies, they devised an 
august allegory ; they made it gross and palpable to the vulgar 
by the signs of gods and goddesses, and that which in reality was 

* The slaves who had tho care of the atrium. 

D 



$0 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

government they named religion. Isis is a fable start not ! 
that for which Isis is a type is a reality, an immortal being ; Isis 
is nothing ; Nature, which she represents, is the mother of all 
things dark, ancient, inscrutable, save to the gifted few. ' None 
among mortals hath ever taken off my veil,' so saith the Isis that 
you adore ; but to the wise that veil 'hath been removed, and we 
have stood face to face with the solemn loveliness of Nature. 
The priests then were the benefactors, the civilisers of mankind ; 
true, they were also cheats impostors if you will. But think 
you, young man, that if they had not deceived their kind they 
could have served them ? The ignorant and servile vulgar must 
be blinded to attain to their proper good ; they would not be- 
lieve a maxim they revere an oracle. The emperor of Rome 
sways the vast and various tribes of the earth, and harmonises 
the conflicting and disunited elements ; thence come peace, order, 
law, the blessings of life. Think you it is the man the emperor 
that thus sways? No, it is the pomp, the awe, the majesty 
that surrounds him ; these are his impostures, his delusions ; our 
oracles and our divinations, our rites and our ceremonies, are the 
means of our sovereignty and the engines of our power. They 
are the same means to the same end, the welfare and harmony of 
mankind ; you listen to me rapt and intent ; the light begins to 
dawn upon you." 

Apcecides remained silent, but the changes rapidly passing 
over his speaking countenance betrayed the effect produced upon 
him by the words of the Egyptian words made tenfold more 
eloquent by the voice, the aspect, and the manner of the man. 

"While, then," resumed Arbaces, "our father of the Nile 
thus achieved the first elements by whose life chaos is destroyed, 
namely the 'obedience and reverence of the multitude for the few, 
they drew from their majestic and starred meditations that wisdom 
which was no delusion : they invented the codes and regularities 
of law the arts and glories of existence. They asked belief ; 
they returned the gift by civilization. Were not their very cheats 
a virtue? Trust me, whosoever in yon far heavens of a diviner 
and more beneficent nature look down upon our world, smile 
approvingly upon the wisdom which has worked such ends. But 
you wish me to apply these generalities to yourself ; I hasten to 
obey the wish. The altars of the goddess of our ancient faith 
must be served, and served too by others than the stolid and 
soulless things that are but as pegs and hooks whereon to hang 
the fillet and the robe. Remember two sayings of Sextus the 
Pythagorean, sayings borrowed from the lore of Egypt. The 
first is, ' Speak not of God to the multitude ;' the second is, 
' The man worthy of God is a god among men.' As Genius gave 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 51 

to the ministers of Egypt worship, that empire in late ages so 
fearfully decayed, thus by Genius only can the dominion be re- 
stored. I saw in you, Apsecides, a pupil worthy of my lessons 
a minister worthy of the great ends which may yet be wrought : 
your energy, your talents, your purity of faith, your earnestness 
of enthusiasm, all fitted you for that calling which demands so 
imperiously high and ardent qualities ; I fanned therefore your 
sacred desires ; I stimulated you to the step you have taken. But 
you blame me that I did not reveal to you the little souls and the 
juggling tricks of your companions. Had I done so, Apascides, 
I had defeated my own object : your noble nature would have at 
once revolted, and Isis would have lost her priest." 

Apascides groaned aloud. The Egyptian continued, without 
heeding the interruption. 

" I placed you, therefore, without preparation, in the temple ; 
I left you suddenly to discover and to be sickened by all those 
mummeries which dazzle the herd. I desired that you should 
perceive how those engines are moved by which the fountain 
that refreshes tha world casts its waters in the air. It was 
the trial ordained of old to all our priests. They who accustom 
themselves to the impostures of the vulgar, are left to practice 
them ; for those like you, whose higher natures demand 
higher pursuit, religion opens more godlike secrets. I am 
pleased to find in you the character I had expected. You have 
taken the vows ; you cannot recede. Advance I will be your 
guide." 

"And what wilt thou teach me, O singular and fearful man? 
New cheats new " 

" No I have thrown thee into the abyss of Disbelief; I will 
lead thee now to the eminence of Faith. Thou hast seen the false 
types ; thou shall learn now the realities they represent. There 
is no shadow, Apaecides, without its substance. Come to me 
this night. Your hand." 

" Impressed, excited, bewildered by the language of the 
Egyptian, Apaecides gave him his hand, and master and pupil 
departed. 

It was true that for Apascides there was no retreat. He had 
taken the vows of celibacy ; he had devoted himself to a life that 
at present seemed to possess all the austerities of fanaticism, with- 
out any of the consolations of belief. It was natural that he should 
yet cling to a yearning desire to reconcile himself to an irrevoca- 
ble career. The powerful and profound mind of the Egyptian yet 
claimed an empire over his young imagination ; excited him 
with vague conjecture, and kept him alternately vibrating between 
hope and fear. 



Si THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Meanwhile Arbaces pursued his slow and stately way to the 
house of lone. As he entered the tablinum, he heard a voice 
from the porticoes of the peristyle beyond, which, musical as it 
was, sounded displeasingly on his ear ; it was the voice of the 
young and beautiful Glaucus, and for the first time an involuntary 
thrill of jealousy crossed the breast of the Egyptian. On enter- 
ing the peristyle, he found Glaucus seated by the side of lone. 
The fountain in the odorous garden cast up its silver spray in the 
air, and kept a delicious coolness in the midst of the sultry noon. 
The handmaids, almost invariably attendant on lone, who with 
her freedom of life preserved the most delicate modesty, sat at a 
little distance : by the feet of Glaucus lay the lyre on which he 
had been playing to lone one of the Lesbian airs. The scene 
the group before Arbaces, was stamped by that peculiar and re- 
fined ideality of poesy which we yet not erroneously imagine to 
be the distinction ot the ancients the marble columns, the vases 
of flowers, the statue, white and tranquil, closing every vista ; and 
above all, the two living forms, from which a sculptor might have 
caught either inspiration or despair ! 

Arbaces, pausing for a moment, gazed upon the pair with a 
brow from which all the usual stern serenity had fled ; he recover- 
ed himself by an effort, and slowly approached them, but with a. 
step so soft and echoless, that even the attendants heard him not, 
much less lone and her lover. 

" And yet," said Glaucus, "it is only before we love that we 
imagine that our poets have truly described the passion the 
instant the sun rises, all the stars that had shone in his absence 
vanish into air. The poets exist only in the night of the heart ; 
they are nothing to us when we feel the full glory of the god." 

" A gentle and most glowing image, noble Glaucus." 

Both started, and recognised behind the seat of lone the cold 
and sarcastic face of the Egyptian. 

" You are a sudden guest," said Glaucus, rising, and with a 
forced smile. 

" So ought all to be, who know they are welcome," returned 
Arbaces, seating himself, and motioning to Glaucus to do the 
same. 

" I am glad," said lone, " to see you at length together ; for 
you are suited to each other, and you are formed to be friends." 

" Give me back some fifteen years of life," replied the Egyp- 
tian, "before you can place me on an equality with Glaucus. 
Happy should I be to receive his friendship ; but what can I 
give him in return ? Can I make to him the same confidences 
that he would repose in me? of banquets and garlands ot Par- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 53 

thian steeds, and the chances of the dice : these pleasures suit his 
age, his nature, his career ; they are not for mine." 

So saying, the arti'ul Egyptian looked down and sighed ; but 
from the corner of his eye he stole a glance towards lone, to see 
how she received these insinuations of the pursuits of her visitor. 
Her countenance did not satisfy him. Glaucus, slightly colouring, 
hastened gaily to reply. Nor was he, perhaps, without the same 
wish to disconcert and abash the Egyptian. 

" You are right, wise Arbaces," said he ; " we can esteem each 
other, but we cannot be friends. My banquets lack the secret 
salt which, according to rumour, gives such zest to your own. 
And, by Hercules ! when I have reached your age, if I, like 
you, may think it wise to pursue the pleasures of manhood, 
like you I shall be doubtless sarcastic on the gallantries of 
youth." 

The Egyptian raised his eyes to Glaucus with a sudden and 
piercing glance. 

" I do not understand you," said he, coldly ; "but it is the 
custom to consider wit lies in obscurity." He turned as he spoke 
from Glaucus with a scarcely perceptible sneer of contempt, and 
after a moment's pause addressed himself to lone ; " I have not, 
beautiful lone," said he, "been fortunate enough to find you 
within doors the last two or three times that I have visited your 
vestibule." 

"The smoothness of the sea has tempted me much from 
home," replied lone, with a little embarrassment. 

The embarrassment did not escape Arbaces ; but without 
seeming to heed it, he replied with a smile : " You know the old 
poet says that ' Women should keep within doors and there 
converse.'" * 

" The poet was a cynic," said Glaucus, " and hated women." 

" He spake according to the customs of his country, and that 
country is your boasted Greece." 

' ' To different periods different customs. Had our forefathers 
known lone, they had made a different law." 

"Did you learn those pretty gallantries at Rome ?" said Ar- 
baces, with ill-suppressed emotion. 

"One certainly would not go for gallantries to Egypt," retorted 
Glaucus, playing carelessly with his chain. 

" Come, come," said lone, hastening to interrupt a conversa- 
tion which she saw, to her great distress, was so little like to 
cement the intimacy she had desired to effect between Glaucus 
and her friend : ' ' Arbaces must not be so hard upon his poor 

Euripides. 



54 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

pupil. An orphan, and without a mother's care I may be to 
blame for the independent and almost masculine liberty of life 
that I have chosen, yet it is not greater than the Roman women 
are accustomed to it is not greater than the Grecian ought to 
be. Alas ! is it only to be among men, that freedom and virtue 
are to be deemed united ? Why should the slavery that destroyed 
you be considered the only method to preserve us ? Ah ! believe 
me, it has been the great error of men, and one that has worked 
bitterly on their destinies, to imagine that the nature of women is, 
I will not say inferior, that may be so, but so different from their 
own, in making laws unfavourable to the intellectual advance- 
ment of women. Have they not, in so doing, made laws against 
their children whom women are to rear against the husbands of 
whom women are to be the friends, nay, sometimes the ad- 
visers?" lone stopped short suddenly, and her face was suffused 
with the most enchanting blushes. She feared least her en- 
thusiasm had led her too far ; yet she feared the austere Arbaces 
less than the courteous Glaucus, for she loved the last ; and it 
was not the custom of the Greeks to allow their women, at least 
such of them women as they most honoured, the same liberty and 
and the same station as those of Italy enjoyed. She felt, there- 
fore, a thrill of delight as Glaucus earnestly replied 

" Ever mayest thou think thus, lone ever be your pure 
heart your unerring guide ! Happy had it been for Greece, if 
she had given to the chaste the same intellectural charms that 
are so celebrated amongst the less worthy of her women. No 
state falls from freedom, from knowledge, while your sex smile 
only on the free, and, by appreciating, encourage the wise." 

Arbaces was silent, for it was neither his part to sanction the 
sentiment of Glaucus, nor to condemn that of lone ; and, after 
a short and embarrassed conversation, Glaucus took his leave of 
lone. 

When he was gone, Arbaces, drawing his seat nearer the fair 
Neapolitan's, said in those bland and subdued tones, in which he 
Vnew so well how to veil the mingled art and fierceness of his 
character : 

" Think not, my sweet pupil, if so I may call you, that I wish 
to shackle that liberty you adorn while you assume ; but which, 
if not greater, as you rightly observe, than that possessed by the 
Roman women, must at least be accompanied by great circum- 
spection when arrogated by one unmarried. Continue to draw 
crowds of the gay, the brilliant, the wise themselves to your feet ; 
continue to charm them with the conversation of an Aspasia, the 
music of ail Erinna; but reflect at least on those censorious 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 55 

tongues which can so easily blight the tender reputation of a 
maiden ; and while you provoke admiration, give, 1 beseech you, 
no victory to envy." 

'What mean you, Arbaces?" said lone, in an alarmed and 
trembling voice. " I know you are my friend, that you desire 
only my honour and my welfare. What is it you would say ?" 

"Your friend ah, how sincerely! May I speak then as a 
friend, without reserve and without offence?" 

" I beseech you, do so." 

"This young profligate, this Glaucus, how didst thou know 
him? Hast thou seen him often?" And as Arbaces spoke, he 
fixed his gaze steadfastly upon lone, as if he sought to penetrate 
into her soul. 

Recoiling before the gaze, with a strange fear that she could not 
explain, the Neapolitan, answered with confusion and hesitation, 
" He was brought to my house as a countryman of my father's, 
and I may say of mine. I have known him only within this last 
week or so : but why these questions?" 

"Forgive me," s'aid Arbaces, "I thought you might have 
known him longer. Base insinuator that he is !" 

" How ! what mean you? Why that term?" 

'< It matters not ; let me not rouse your indignation against one 
who does not deserve so grave an honour." 

' ' I implore you speak. What has Glaucus insinuated ? or 
rather, in what do you suppose he has offended ?" 

Smothering his resentment at the last part of Tone's question, 
Arbaces continued, " You know his pursuits, his companions, his 
habits ; the comissatio and the alea, the revel and the dice, make 
his occupation ; and amongst the associates of vice how can he 
dream of virtue?" 

' ' Still you speak riddles. By the gods ! I entreat you, say the 
worst at once." 

"Well then, it must be so: know, my lone, that it was but 
yesterday that Glaucus boasted openly yes, in the public baths, 
of your love to him. He said, it amused him to take advantage 
of it. Nay, I will do him justice, he praised your beauty. Who 
could deny it? But he laughed scornfully, when his Clodius, 
or his Lepidus, asked him if he loved you enough for marriage, 
and when he purposed to adorn his doorposts with flowers?" 

" Impossible ! How heard you this base slander?" 

" Nay, would you have me relate to you all the comments of 
the insolent coxcombs with which the story has circled through 
the town? Be assured that I myself disbelieved at first, and that 
I have now painfully been convinced by several ear-witnesses of 
the truth of what I have reluctantly told thee," 



5 6 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

lone sank back, and her face was whiter than the pillar against 
which she leant for support. 

" I own it vexed, it irritated me, to hear your name thus lightly 
pitched from lip to lip, like some mere dancing girl's fame. I 
hastened this morning to seek and to warn you. I found Glaucus 
here. I was stung from my self-possession. I could not conceal 
my feelings ; nay, I was uncourteous in thy presence. Canst 
thou forgive thy friend, lone?" 

lone placed her hand in his, but replied not. 

" Think no more of this," said he, " but let it be a warning 
voice, to tell thee how much pmdence thy lot requires. It 
cannot hurt thee, lone, for a moment ; for a gay thing like this 
could never have been honoured by even a serious thought from 
lone. These insults only wound when they come from one \\e 
love : far different indeed is he whom the lofty lone shall stoop 
to love." 

" Love," muttered lone, with an hysterical laugh. " Ay, in- 
deed." 

It is not without interest to observe in those remote times, and 
under a social system so widely different from the modern, the 
same small causes that raffle and interrupt the "course of love" 
which operate so commonly at this day ; the same inventive 
jealousy, the same cunning slander, the same crafty and fabri- 
cated retailings of petty gossip, which so often now suffice to 
break the ties of the truest love, and counteract the tenor of cir- 
cumstances most apparently propitious. When the barque sails 
on over the smoothest wave, the fable tells us of the diminutive 
fish that can cling to the keel and arrest its progress : so is it ever 
with the great passions of mankind ; and we should paint life 
but ill if, even in times the most prodigal of romance, and of the 
romance of which we most largely avail ourselves, we did not 
also describe the mechanism of those trivial and household springs 
of mischief which we see every day at work in our chambers and 
at our hearths. It is in these, the lesser intrigues of life, that we 
mostly find ourselves at home with the past ; if you scorn them, 
you are only a romance writer and you do not interest the heart 
because you do not portray it. 

Most cunningly had the Egyptian appealed to lone's ruling 
foible ; most dexterously had he applied the poisoned dart to her 
pride. He fancied he had arrested what at most he hoped, from 
the shortness of the time she had known Glaucus, was but an 
Incipient fancy ; and hastening to change the subject, he now led 
her to talk of her brother. Their conversation did not last long. 
He left her, resolved not again to trust so much to absence, but 
to visit to watch her every day. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 57 

No sooner had his shadow glided from her presence, than 
woman's pride her sex's dissimulation deserted his intended 
victim, and the haughty lone burst into passionate tears. 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE GAY LIFE OF THE POMPEIAN LOUNGER. A MINIATURE 
LIKENESS OF THE ROMAN BATHS. 

WHEN Glaucus left lone, he felt as if he trod upon air. In 
the interview with which he had just been blessed, he had 
for the first time gathered from her distinctly that his love was 
not unwelcome to and would not be unrewarded by her. This 
hope filled him with a rapture for which earth and heaven seemed 
too narrow to afford a vent. Unconscious of the sudden enemy 
he had left behind, and forgetting not only his taunts but his very 
existence, Glaucus passed through the gay streets, repeating to 
himself, in the wantonness of joy, the music of the soft air to 
which lone had listened with such intenseness ; and now he 
entered the street of Fortune, with its raised footpath, its houses 
painted without, and the open doors admitting the view of the 
glowing frescoes within. Each end of the street was adorned 
with a triumphal arch ; and as Glaucus now came before the 
temple of Fortune, the jutting portico of that beautiful fane, 
which is supposed to have been built by one of the family of 
Cicero, perhaps by the orator himself, imparted a dignified and 
venerable feature to a scene otherwise more brilliant and lofty in 
its character. That temple was one of the most graceful speci- 
mens of Roman architecture. It was raised on a somewhat lofty 
podium ; and between two flights of steps ascending to a plat- 
form, stood the altar of the goddess. From this platform another 
flight of broad stairs led to the portico, from the height of whose 
fluted columns hung festoons of the richest flowers. On either 
side the extremities of the temple were placed statues of Grecian 
workmanship ; and at a little distance from the temple rose the 
triumphal arch crowned with an equestrian statue of Caligula, 
which was flanked by trophies of bronze. In the space before 
the temple a lively throng were assembled, some seated on 
benches and discussing the politics of the empire, some convers- 
ing on the approaching spectacle of the amphitheatre. One knot 
of young men were lauding a new beauty, another discussing the 
merits of the last play ; a third group, more stricken in age, were 
speculating on the chance of the trade with Alexandria, and 
amidst these were many merchants in the Eastern costume, 
whose loose and peculiar robes, painted and gemmed slippers, 
and composed and serious countenances, formed a striking 



58 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

contrast to the tunicked forms and animated gestures of the 
Italians. For that impatient and lively people had, as now, 
a language distinct from speech ; a language of signs and 
motions inexpressibly significant and vivacious. Their descen- 
dants retain it ; and the learned Jorio hath written a most 
entertaining work upon that species of hieroglyphical gesticu- 
lation. 

Sauntering through the crowd, Glaucus soon found himself 
amidst a group of his merry and dissipated friends. 

" Ah !" said Sallust, " it is a lustrum since I saw you." 

"And how have you spent the lustrum? What new dishes 
have you discovered?'' 

"I have been scientific," returned Sallust, "and have made 
some experiments in the feeding of lampreys. I confess J despair 
of bringing them to the perfection which our Roman ancestors 
attained." 

" Miserable man ! and why?" 

" Because," returned Sallust, with a sigh, " it is no longer law- 
ful to give them a slave to eat. I am very often tempted to make 
away with a very fat carptor (butler) whom I possess, and pop him 
slily into the reservoir. He would give the fish a most oleaginous 
flavour ! But slaves are not slaves now-a-days, and have no sym- 
pathy with their master's interest, or Davus would destroy himself 
to oblige me !" 

"What news from Rome?" said Lepidus, as he languidly 
joined the group. 

" The emperor has been giving a splendid supper to the sena- 
tors," answered Sallust. 

" He is a good creature," quoth Lepidus ; " they say he never 
sends a man away without granting his request." 

" Perhaps he would let me kill a slave for my reservoir," re- 
turned Sallust, eagerly. 

" Not unlikely," said Glaucus ; " for he who grants a favour 
to one Roman, must always do it at the expense of another. 
Be sure that for every smile Titus has caused, a hundred eyes 
have wept." 

"Long live Titus !" cried Pansa, overhearing the emperor's 
name, as he swept patronisingly through the crowd ; " he has 
promised my brother a quaestorship, because he had run through 
his fortune." 

"And wishes now to enrich himself among the people, my 
Pansa," said Glaucus. 

" Exactly so," said Pansa. 

"That is putting the people to some use," said Glaucus. 

" To be sure," returned Pansa. " Well, I must go and look 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 59 

after the asrarium ; it is a little out of repair ;" and followed by a 
long train of clients, distinguished from the rest of the throng by 
the togas they wore, for togas, once the sign of freedom in a 
citizen, were now the badge of servility to a patron, the sedile 
fidgeted fussily away. 

" Poor Pansa !" said Lepidus, "he never has time for pleasure. 
Thank heaven I am not an eedile ! " 

"Ah, Glaucus ! how are you? Gay as ever!" said Clodius, 
joining the group. 

"Are you come to sacrifice to fortune?" said Sallust. 

" I sacrifice to her every night," returned the gamester. 

" I do not doubt it. No man has made more victims." 

" By Hercules, a bitter speech !" cried Glaucus, laughing. 

" The dog's letter is never out of your mouth, Sallust," said 
Clodius, angrily ; "you are always snarling." 

" I may well have the dog's letter in my mouth, since, when- 
ever I play with you, I have the dog's throw in my hand," return- 
ed Sallust. 

" Hist!" said Glaucus, taking a rose from a flower-girl, who 
stood beside. 

" The rose is the token of silence," replied Sallust ; " but I love 
only to see it at the supper-table." 

" Talking of that, Diomed gives a grand feast next week," said 
Sallust : "are you invited, Glaucus ?" 

" Yes ; I received an invitation this morning." 

" And I, too," said Sallust, drawing a square piece of papyrus 
from his girdle. ' ' I see that he asks us an hour earlier than usual ; 
an earnest of something sumptuous." * 

" Oh ! he is rich as Crcesus," said Clodius ; "and his bill of 
fare is as long as an epic." 

" Well, let us to the baths," said Glaucus ; " this is the time 
when all the world is there, and Fulvius, whom you admire so 
much, is going to read us his last ode." 

The young men assented readily to the proposal, and they 
strolled to the baths. 

Although the public thermae or baths were instituted rather for 
the poorer citizens than the wealthy, for the last had baths in 
their own houses ; yet, to the crowds of all ranks who resorted 
to them, it was a favourite place for conversation, and for that 
indolent lounging so dear to a gay and thoughtless people. The 
baths at Pompeii- differed of course in plan and construction 
from the vast and complicated thermae of Rome ; and, indeed, 
it seems that in each city of the empire there was always some 

" The Romans sent tickets of invitation like the moderns, specifying the 
hour of the repast. 



60 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

slight modification of arrangement in the general architecture of 
the public baths. This mightily puzzles the learned, as if archi- 
tects and fashion were not capricious before the nineteenth cen- 
tury ! Our party entered by the principal porch in the street of 
Fortune. At the wing of the portico sat the keeper of the baths, 
with his two boxes before him, one for the money he received, 
one for the tickets he dispensed. Round the walls of the portico 
were seats crowded with persons of all ranks ; while others, as 
the regimen of the physicians prescribed, were walking briskly 
to and fro the portico, stopping every now and then to gaze on 
the innumerable notices of shows, games, sales, exhibitions, 
which were painted or inscribed upon the walls. The general 
subject of conversation was, however, the spectacle announced 
in the amphitheatre ; and each new comer was fastened upon by 
a group eager to know if Pompeii had been so fortunate as to 
produce some monstrous criminal, some happy case of sacrilege 
or of murder, which would allow the aediles to provide a man for 
the jaws of the lion ; all other more common exhibitions seemed 
dull and tame when compared with the possibility of this fortun- 
ate occurrence. 

" For my part," said one jolly-looking man, who was a gold- 
smith, " I think the emperor, if he is as good as they say, might 
have sent us a jew." 

"Why not take one of the new sect of Nazarenes?" said a 
philosopher. " I am not cruel but an atheist, one who denies 
Jupiter himself, deserves no mercy." 

" I care not how many gods a man likes to believe in," said 
the jeweller ; " but to deny all gods is something monstrous." 

" Yet I fancy," said Glaucus, " that these people are not abso- 
lutely atheists. I am told that they believe in a God nay, in a 
future "state. " 

" Quite a mistake, my dear Glaucus," said the philosopher ; " I 
have conferred with them they laughed in my face when I talked 
of Pluto and Hades." 

" O ye gods !" exclaimed the goldsmith, in horror, "are there 
any of these wretches in Pompeii?" 

' ' I know there are a few ; but they meet so privately, that it is 
impossible to discover who they are." 

As Glaucus turned away, a sculptor, who was a great enthusiast 
in his art, looked after him admiringly. 

"Ah 1" said he, " if we could get him on the arena there would 

be a model for you ! what limbs ; what a head ! he ought to have 

been a gladiator ! A subject a subject worthy of our art ! Why 

don't they give him to the lion?" 

Meanwhile Fulvius, the Roman poet, whom his contemporaries 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 6 1 

declared immortal, and who, but for this history, would never have 
been heard of in our neglectful age, came eagerly up to Glaucus : 
" Oh, my Athenian, my Glaucus, you have come to hear my ode. 
That is indeed an honour ; you, a Greek to whom the very 
language of common life is poetry. How I thank you ! It is 
but a trifle ; but if I secure your approbation, perhaps I may get 
an introduction to Titus. Oh, Glaucus ! a poet without a patron 
is an amphora without a label ; the wine may be good, but no- 
body will laud it ! And what says Pythagoras? ' Frankin- 
cense to the gods, but praise to man.' A patron, then, is the 
poet's priest ; he procures him the incense and obtains him his 
believers." 

" But all Pompeii is your patron, and every portico and altar 
in your praise." 

"Ah ! the poor Pompeians are very civil they love to honour 
merit. But they are only the inhabitants of a petty town spero 
meliora ! Shall we within?" 

" Certainly ; we lose time till we hear your poem." 
At this instant there was a rush of some twenty persons from 
the baths into the portico ; and a slave stationed at the door of a 
small corridor now admitted the poet, Glaucus, Clodius, and a 
troop of the bard's other friends, into the passage. 

" A poor place this, compared with the Roman thermce," said 
Lepidus, disdainfully. 

" Yet is there some taste in the ceiling," said Glaucus, who was 
in a mood to be pleased with everything ; pointing to the stars 
which studded the roof. 

Lepidus shrugged his shoulders, but was too languid to reply. 
They now entered a somewhat spacious chamber, which served 
for the purpose of the apoditerium that is, a place where the 
bathers prepared themselves for luxurious ablutions. The vaulted 
ceiling was raised from a cornice, glowingly coloured with motley 
and grotesque paintings ; the ceiling itself was panelled in white 
compartments bordered with rich crimson ; the unsullied and 
shining floor was paved with white mosaics, and along the walls 
were ranged benches for the accommodation of the loiterers. 
This chamber did not possess the numerous and spacious windows 
which Vitruvius attributes to his more magnificent frigidarium. 
The Pompeians, as all the southernltalians.were fond of banishing 
the light of their sultry skies, and combined in their voluptuous 
associations the idea of luxury with darkness. Two windows of 
glass* alone admitted the soft and shaded ray ; and the compart- 

* The discoveries of Pompeii have controverted the long-established error 
of the antiquaries, that glass windows were unknown to the Romans the 
use of them was not however common. 



62 tHE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ment in which one of these casements was placed was adorned 
with a large relief of the Destruction of the Titans. 

In this apartment Fulvius seated himself with a magisterial air, 
and his audience gathering round him, encouraged him to com- 
mence his recital. 

The poet did not require much pressing. He drew forth from 
his breast a roll of papyrus, and after hemming three times, as 
much to command silence as to clear his voice, he began that 
wonderful ode, of which, to the great mortification of the author 
of this history, no single verse can be discovered. 

By the plaudits he received, it was doubtless worthy of his fame ; 
and Glaucus was the only listener who did not find it excel the 
best odes of Horace. 

The poem concluded, those who took only the cold bath began 
to undress ; they suspended their garments on hooks fastened in 
the wall, and receiving, according to their condition, either from 
their own slaves, or those of the thermae, a loose robe, withdrew 
into that graceful and circular building which yet exists to shame 
the unlaving posterity of the south. 

The most luxurious departed by another door to the tepidari- 
um, a place which was heated to a voluptuous warmth, partly by 
a movable fire-place, principally by a suspended pavement beneath 
which was conducted the caloric of the laconicum. 

Here this portion of the intended bathers, after robing them- 
selves, remained for some time enjoying the artificial warmth of 
the luxurious air. And this room, as befitted its important rank 
in the long process of ablution, was more richly and elaborately 
decorated than the rest ; the arched roof was beautifully carved 
and painted ; the windows above, of ground glass, admitted but 
wandering and uncertain rays ; below the massive cornices were 
rows of figures in massive and bold relief, the walls glowed with 
crimson, the pavement was skilfully tesselated in white mosaics. 
Here the habituated bathers men who bathed seven times a day, 
would remain in a state of enervate and speechless lassitude, 
either before, or mostly after, the water bath ; and many of these 
victims of the pursuit of health, turned their listless eyes on the 
new comers, recognising their friends with a nod, but dreading 
the fatigue of conversation. 

From this place the party again diverged, according to their 
several fancies, some to the sudatorium, which answered the pur- 
pose of our vapour-baths, and from thence to the warm-bath itself; 
those more accustomed to exercise, and capable of dispensing with 
so cheap a purchase of fatigue, resorted at once to the calidarium 
or water-bath. 

In order to complete this sketch, and give to the reader an ade- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 63 

quate notion of this the main luxury of the ancients, we will ac- 
company Lepidtis, who regularly underwent the whole process, 
save only the cold bath, which had gone lately out of fashion. 
Being then gradually warmed in the tepidarium, which has just 
been described, the delicate steps of the Pompeian tltgant were 
conducted to the sudatorium. Here let the reader depict to him- 
self the gradual process of the vapour-bath, accompanied by an 
exhalation of spicy perfumes. After our bather had undergone 
this operation, he was seized by his slaves, who always awaited 
him at the baths, and the dews of heat were removed by a kind 
of scraper, which, by the way, a modern traveller has gravely 
declared to be used only to remove the dirt, not one particle of 
which could ever settle on the the polished skin of the practiced 
bather. Thence, somewhat cooled, he passed into the water- 
bath, over which fresh perfnmes were profusely scattered, and on 
emerging from the opposite part of the room, a cooling shower 
played over his head and form. Then wrapping himself in a 
light robe, he returned once more to the tepidarium, where he 
found Glacus, who had not encountered the sudatorium ; and 
now, the main delight and extravagance of the bath commenced. 
Their slaves anointed the bathers from phials of gold, of ala- 
baster, or of crystal, studded with profusest gems, and contain- 
ing the rarest unguents gathered from all quarters of the world. 
The number of these smegmata used by the wealthy would fill a 
modern volume especially if the volume were printed by a fash- 
ionable publisher : Amoracinum, Megalium, Nardum omne, 
cuod exit in um : while soft music was played in an adjacent 
chamber ; and such as used the bath in moderation, refreshed 
and restored by the grateful ceremony, conversed with all the zest 
and freshness of rejuvenated life. 

" Blest be he who invented baths!" said Glaucus, stretching 
himself along one of those bronze seats, then covered with soft 
cushions, which the visitor to Pompeii sees to this day in that 
same tepidarium: "Whether he were Hercules, or Bacchus, he 
deserved deification." 

" But tell me," said a corpulent citizen, who was groaning and 
wheezing under the operation of being rubbed down, " tell me, O 
Glaucus evil chance to thy hands, O slave ! why so rough? tell 
me ugh ugh ; are the baths of Rome really so magnificent ?" 
Glaucus turned, and recognised Diomed, though not without some 
difficulty, so red and so inflamed were the good man's cheeks by 
the sudatory and the scraping he had so lately undergoue. " I 
fancy they must be a great deal finer than these. Eh?" Sup- 
pressing a smile, Glaucus replied, 

"Imagine all Pompeii converted into baths, and you would 



64 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

then form a notion of the size of the imperial thermse of Rome 
but a notion of the size only. Imagine every entertainment 
for mind and body ; enumerate all the gymnastic games our 
fathers invented ; repeat all the books Italy and Greece have 
produced; suppose places for all these games, admirers for all 
these works ; add to this, baths of the vastest size, the most 
complicated construction ; intersperse the whole with gardens, 
with theatres, with porticoes, with schools suppose, in one 
word, a city of the gods, composed but of palaces and public 
edifices, and you may form some faint idea of the glories of the 
great baths of Rome !" 

"By Hercules!" said Diomed, opening his eyes. "Why, it 
would take a man's whole life to bathe." 

" At Rome, it often does so," replied Glaucus, gravely. "There 
are many who live only at the baths. They repair there the first 
hour in which they are opened, and remain till that in which they 
are closed. They seem as if they knew nothing of the rest of 
Rome, as if they despised all other existence." 

" By Pollux ! you amaze me !" 

" Even those who bathe only thrice a day, contrive to consume 
their lives in the occupation. They take their exercise in the 
tennis-court or the porticoes, to prepare them for the first bath ; 
they lounge in the theatre to refresh themselves after it. They 
take their prandium under the trees, and think over their second 
bath. By the time it is prepared, the prandium is digested. From 
the second bath, they stroll into one of the peristyles to hear some 
new poet recite ; or into the library to sleep over an old one. Then 
comes the supper, which they still consider but a part of the bath ; 
and then a third time they bathe again, as the best place to con- 
verse with their friends." 

" Per Hercle ! but we have their imitators at Pompeii." 

'" Yes, and without their excuse. The magnificent voluptu- 
aries of the Roman baths are happy ; they see nothing but gor- 
geousness and splendour ; they visit not the squalid parts of the 
city ; they know not that there is poverty in the world. All 
Nature smiles for them, and her only frown is the last one which 
sends them to bathe in Cocytus. Believe me, they are your only 
true philosophers." 

While Glaucus was thus conversing, Lepidus, with closed eyes 
and scarce perceptible breath, was undergoing all the mystic 
operations, not one of which he ever suffered his attendant to 
omit. After the perfumes and the unguents, they scattered over 
him the luxurious powder which prevented any further acces- 
sion of heat ; and this being rubbed away by the smoothe sur- 
face of the pumice, he began to indue, not the garments he 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 65 

had put off, but those more festive ones termed " the synthesis," 
with which the Romans marked their respect for the coming 
ceremony of supper, if rather, from its hour three o'clock in 
our measurement of time it might not be fitly denominated din- 
ner. This done, he at length opened his eyes and gave signs of 
returning life. 

At the same time, too, Sallust betokened by a long yawn the 
evidence of existence. 

"It is supper time," said the epicure; "you, Glaucus and 
Lepidus, come and sup with me." 

" Recollect you are all three engaged to my house next week," 
cried Diomed, who was mightily proud of the acquaintance of 
men of fashion. 

"Ah, ah! we recollect," said Sallust; "the seat of memory, 
my Diomed, is certainly in the stomach." 

Passing now once again into the cooler air, and so into the 
street, our gallants of that day concluded the ceremony of a 
Pompeian bath. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

ARBACES COGS HIS DICE WITH PLEASURE, AND WINS THE 
GAME. 

THE evening darkened over the restless city, as Apaecides 
took his way to the house of the Egyptian. He avoided 
the more lighted and populous streets ; and as he strode on- 
ward, with his head buried in his bosom and his arms folded 
within his robe, there was something startling in the contrast 
which his solemn mein and wasted form presented to the thought- 
less brows and animated air of those who occasionally crossed 
his path. 

At length, however, a man of more sober and staid demeanour, 
and who had twice passed him with a curious but doubting look, 
touched him on the shoulder. 

' ' Apaecides," said he, and he made a rapid sign with his hands. 
It was the sign of the cross. 

"Well, Nazarene," replied the priest, and his pale face grew 
paler ; " what wouldst thou?" 

"Nay," returned the stranger, "I would not interrupt thy 
meditations ; but the last time we met, I seemed not to be so 
unwelcome." 

' ' You are not unwelcome, Olinthus ; but I am sad and weary, 
nor am I able this evening to discuss with you those themes which 
are most acceptable to you." 





66 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"O backward of heart!" said Olinthus, with bitter fervour, 
"art thou sad and weary, and wilt thou turn from the very springs 
that refresh and heal ?" 

"O earth !" cried the young priest, striking his breast pas- 
sionately, "from what regions shall my eyes open to the true 
Olympus, where thy gods really dwell? Am I to believe, with 
this man, that none whom for so many centuries my fathers 
worshipped have a being or a name? Am I to break down 
as something blasphemous and profane the very altars which I 
have deemed most sacred ; or am I to think with Arbaces 
what?" 

He paused, and strode rapidly away in the impatience of a 
man who strives to get rid of himself. But the Nazarene was 
one of those hardy, vigorous, and enthusiastic men, by whom 
God in all times has worked the revolutions of earth, and those, 
above all, in the establishment and in the reformation of His own 
religion ; men who were formed to convert, because formed to 
endure. It is men of this mould whom nothing discourages, 
nothing dismays ; in the fervour of belief they are inspired, and 
they inspire. Their reason first kindles their passion, but the 
passion is the instrument they use ; they force themselves into 
men's hearts, while they appear only to appeal to their judgment. 
Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm ; it is the real allegory of 
the tale of Orpheus ; it moves stones, it charms brutes. En- 
thusiasm is the genius of Sincerity, and Truth accomplishes no 
victories without it. 

Olinthus did not then suffer Apascides thus easily to escape 
him. He overtook and addressed him thus : 

" I do not wonder, Apaecides, that I distress you ; that I shake 
all the elements of your mind ; that you are lost in doubt ; that 
you drift here and there in the vast ocean of uncertain and 
benighted thought. I wonder not at this, but bear with me a 
little ; watch and pray ! The darkness shall vanish, the storm 
sleep, and God Himself, as He came of yore on the seas of Sa- 
maria, shall walk over the lulled billows, to the delivery of your 
soul. Ours is a religion jealous in its demands, but how infinitely 
prodigal in its gifts ! It troubles you for an hour, it repays you 
by immortality !" 

' Such promises," said Apsecides, sullenly, "are the tricks by 
which man is ever gulled. Oh, glorious were the promises which 
led me to the shrine of Isis." 

"But," answered the Nazarene, "ask thy reason, can that 
religion be sound which outrages all morality ? You are told to 
worship your gods. What are those gods, even according to 
yourselves ? What their actions, what the attributes of their 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 67 

divinity? Are they not all represented to you as the blackest of 
criminals? Yet you are asked to serve them as the holiest of 
divinities. Jupiter himself is a parricide and an adulterer. 
What are the meaner divinities but imitators of his vices? You 
are told not to murder, but you worship murderers ! You are 
told not to commit adultery, and you make your prayers to an 
adulterer ! Oh ! what is this but a mockery of the holiest part 
of man's nature, which is faith ! Turn now to the God, the one, 
the true God, to whose shrine I would lead you. If He seem to 
you too sublime, too shadowy for those human associations, 
those touching connections between Creator and creature, to 
which the weak heart clings, contemplate Him in His Son, who 
put on mortality like ourselves. His mortality is not indeed 
declared, like that of your fabled gods, by the vices of our nature, 
but by the practice of all its virtues. In him are united the 
austerest morals with the tenderest affections. If He were but 
a mere man, He had been worthy to become a god. You hon- 
our Socrates ; he has his sect, his disciples, his schools. But 
what are the doubtful virtues of the Athenian to the bright, the 
undisputed, the active, the unceasing, the devoted holiness of 
Christ ? I speak to you now only of his human character. He 
came in that as the Pattern of future ages, to show us the form 
of virtue which Plato thirsted to see embodied. This was the 
true sacrifice that He made for man : but the halo that encircled 
His dying hour not only brightened earth, but opened to us the 
sight of heaven. You are touched, you are moved. God works 
in your heart. His spirit is with you. Come ! resist not the 
holy impulse ; come at once, unhesitatingly. A few of us are now 
assembled to expound the Word of God. Come, let me guide you 
to them. You are sad, you are weary. Listen then to the words 
of God. ' Come to me, ' saith He, ' all ye that are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest !' " 

" I cannot now," said Apsecides ; "another time." 

" Now, now !" exclaimed Olinthus earnestly, and clasping him 
by the arm. 

But Apsecides, yet unprepared for the renunciation of that faith 
that life, for whk;h he had sacrificed so much, and still haunted 
by the promises of the Egyptian, extricated himself forcibly from 
the grasp ; and, feeling an effort necessary to conquer the irresolu- 
tion which the eloquence of the Christian had begun to effect in 
his heated and feverish mind, he gathered up his robes and fled 
away with a speed that defied pursuit. 

Breathless and exhausted, he arrived at last in a remote and 
sequestered part of the city, and the lone house of the Egyptian 
stood before him. As he paused to recover himself, the moon 



68 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

emerged from a silver cloud and shone full upon the walls of that 
mysterious habitation. 

No other house was near ; the darksome vines clustered far and 
wide in front of the building, and behind it rose a copse of lofty 
forest trees, sleeping in the melancholy moonlight ; beyond 
stretched the dim outline of the distant hills, and amongst them 
the quiet crest of Vesuvius, not then so lofty as the traveller be- 
holds it now. 

Apaecides passed through the arching vines, and arrived at the 
broad and spacious portico. Before it, on either side of the steps, 
reposed the image of the Egyptian Sphinx, and the moonlight 
gave an additional and yet more solid calm to those large and 
harmonious, and passionless features, in which the sculptors of 
that type oi wisdom, united so much of loveliness with awe ; half 
way up the extremities of the steps, darkened the green and mas- 
sive foliage of the aloe, and the shadow of the eastern palm cast 
its long and unwaving boughs partially over the marble surface of 
the stairs. 

Something there was in the stillness of the place and the 
strange aspect of the sculptural sphinxes which thrilled the 
blood of the priest with a nameless and ghostly fear, and he 
longed even for an echo to his noiseless steps as he ascended to 
the threshold. 

He knocked at the door, over which was wrought an inscription 
in characters unfamiliar to his eyes ; it opened without a scjund, 
and a tall Ethiopian slave, without question or salutation, mo- 
tioned to him to proceed. 

The wide hall was lighted by lofty candelabra of elaborate 
bronze, and round the walls were wrought vast hieroglyphics in 
dark and solemn colours, which contrasted strangely with the 
bright hues and graceful shapes with which the inhabitants of 
Italy decorated their abodes. At the extremity of the hall, a 
slave, whose countenance, though not African, was darker by 
many shades than the usual colour of the south, advanced to 
meet him. 

"I seek Arbaces," said the priest, but his voice trembled even 
in his own ear. The slave bowed his head in silence, and lead- 
ing Apaecides to a wing without the hall, conducted him up a 
narrow staircase, and then traversing several rooms, in which the 
stern and thoughtful beauty of the sphinx still made the chief 
and most impressive object of the priest's notice, Apascides found 
himself in a dim and half-lighted chamber, in the presence of the 
Egyptian. 

Arbaces was seated before a small table, on which lay unfolded 
several scrolls of papyrus, impressed with the same character as 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 69 

that on the threshold of the mansion. A small tripod stood at a 
little distance, from the incense in which the smoke slowly rose. 
Near this was a vast globe depicting the signs of heaven ; and 
upon another table lay several instruments of curious and quaint 
shape, whose uses were unknown to Apsecides. The further ex- 
tremity of the room was concealed by a curtain and the oblong 
window in the roof admitted the rays of the moon, mingling sadly 
with the single lamp which burned in the apartment. 

" Seat yourself, Apsecides," said the Egyptian, without rising. 

The young man obeyed. 

" You ask me, "resumed Arbaces, after a short pause, in which 
he seemed absorbed in thought, " You ask me, or would do so, 
the mightiest secrets which the soul of man is fitted to receive ; 
it is the enigma of life itself that you desire me to solve. 
Placedjlike children in the dark, and but for a little while in 
this dim and confined existence, we shape our spectres in the 
obscurity ; our thoughts now sink back into ourselves in terror, 
now wildly plunge themselves into the guideless gloom, guessing 
what it may contain ; stretching our helpless hands here and 
there lest, blindly, we stumble upon some hidden danger, not 
knowing the limits that confine, thinking now they suffocate us 
with compression, thinking now that they extend far away into 
eternity. In this state all wisdom consists necessarily in the solu- 
tion of two questions 'What are we to believe? and what are 
we to reject?" These questions you desire me to decide?" 

Apaecides bowed his head in assent. 

" Man must have some belief," continued the Egyptian, in a 
tone of sadness. " He must fasten his hope to something : it is 
our common nature that you inherit when, aghast and terrified 
to see that in which you have been taught to place your faith 
swept away, you float over a dreary and shoreless sea of incerti- 
tude, you cry for help, you ask for some plank to cling to, some 
land, however dim and distant, to attain. Well, then, listen. 
You have not forgotten our conversation of to-day." 

" Forgotten !" 

" I confessed to you that those deities, for whom smoke so 
many altars, were but inventions. I confessed to you that our 
rites and ceremonies were but mummeries to cheat the herd to 
their proper good. I explained to you that from those cheats 
came the bonds of society, the harmony of the world, the power 
of the wise ; that power is in the obedience of the vulgar. Continue 
we then these salutary delusions ; if man must have some belief, 
continue to him that which his fathers have made dear to him, 
and which custom sacrifices and strengthens. In seeking a subtler 
faith for us, whose senses are too spiritual for the gross one, let 



70 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

us leave others that support which crumbles from ourselves. This 
is wise, it is benevolent." 

" Proceed." 

" This being settled," resumed the Egyptian, " the old land- 
marks being left uninjured for those whom we are about to desert, 
we gird up our loins and depart to new climes of faith. Dismiss 
at once from your recollection, all that you have believed before. 
Suppose the mind a blank, an unwritten scroll, fit to receive im- 
pressions for the first time. Look round the world, observe its 
order, its regularity, its design. Something must have created 
it ; the design speaks a designer ; in that certainty we first touch 
land. But what is that something? a god, you cry. Stay ; no 
confused and confusing names. Of that which created the world 
we know, we can know, nothing save these attributes power and 
unvarying regularity stern regularity heeding no individual 
cases rolling, sweeping, burning on, no matter what scattered 
hearts, severed from the general mass, fall ground and scorched 
beneath its wheels. The mixture of evil with good, the existence 
of suffering and of crime, in all times have perplexed the wise. 
They created a god, they supposed him benevolent. How then 
came this evil ; why did he permit ; nay, why invent, why per- 
petuate it ? To account for this, the Persian creates a second 
spirit, whose nature is evil, and supposes a continual war between 
that and the god of good. In our own shadowy and tremendous 
Typhon the Egyptians image a similar demon. Perplexing 
blunder that yet more bewilders us ! folly that arose from the 
vain delusion that makes a palpable, a corporeal, a human being 
of his unknown power that clothes the Invisible with attri- 
butes and a nature similar to the Seen. No ; to this Designer 
let us give a name that does not command our bewildering asso- 
ciations, and the mystery becomes more clear that name is 
Necessity. Necessity, say the Greeks, compels the gods. Then 
why the gods ? their agency becomes unnecessary ; dismiss them 
at once. Necessity is the ruler of all we see power, regularity ; 
these two qualities make its nature. Would you ask more? 
you can learn nothing, whether it be eternal, whether it compel 
us, its creatures, to new careers after that darkness which we call 
death, we cannot tell. There leave we all this ancient, unseen, 
unfathomable power, and come to that which, to our eyes, is the 
great minister of its functions. This we can task more, from this 
we can learn more ; its evidence is around us, is name is NATURE. 
The error of the sages has been to direct their researches to the 
attributes of Necessity, where all is gloom and blindness. Had 
they confined their researches to Nature, what of knowledge 
might we not already have achieved? Here patience, examina- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 71 

lion, are never directed in vain. We see what we explore ; our 
minds ascend a palpable ladder of causes and effects. Nature is 
the great spirit of the external universe, and Necessity imposes 
upon it the laws by which it acts, and imparts to us the power by 
which we examine ; those powers are curiosity and memory ; 
their union is reason, their perfection is wisdom. Well, then, I 
examine by the help of these powers this inexhaustible Nature. 
I examine the earth, the air, the ocean, the heaven ; I find that 
all have a mystic sympathy with each other, that the moon sways 
the tides, that the air maintains the earth, and is the medium of 
the life and sense of things, that by the knowledge of the stars 
we measure the limits of the earth, that we portion out the 
epochs of time, that by their pale light we are guided into the 
abyss of the past, that in their solemn lore we discern the des- 
tinies of the future. And thus, while we know not that which 
Necessity is, we learn, at least, her decrees. And now, what 
morality do we glean from this religion ? for religion it is. I be- 
lieve in two deities Nature and Necessity ; I worship the last 
by reverence, the first by investigation. What is the morality it 
teaches ? This all things are subject but to general rules ; the 
sun shines for the joy of the many, it may bring sorrow to the 
few ; the night sheds sleep on the multitude, but it harbours 
murder as well as rest ; the forests adorn the earth, but shelter 
the serpent and the lion ; the ocean supports a thousand barques, 
but it engulphs the one. It is only thus for the general, and not 
for the universal benefit, that Nature acts, and Necessity speeds 
on her awful course. This is the morality of the dread agents 
of the world ; it is mine, who am their creature. I would pre- 
serve the delusions of priestcraft, for they are serviceable to the 
multitude ; I would impart to man the arts I discover, the 
sciences I perfect ; I would speed the vast career of civilising 
lore ; in this I serve the mass, I fulfil the general law, I execute 
the great moral that Nature preaches. For myself I claim the 
individual exception ; I claim it for the wise satisfied that my 
individual actions are nothing in the great balance of good and 
evil ; satisfied that the product of my knowledge can give 
greater blessings to the mass than my desires can operate evil 
on the few for (the first can extend to remotest regions and 
humanise nations yet unborn) I give to the world wisdom, to my- 
self freedom. I enlighten the lives of others, and I enjoy my 
own. Yes ; our wisdom is eternal, but our life is short ; make 
the most of it while it lasts. Surrender thy youth to pleasure, 
and thy senses to delight. Soon comes the hour when the wine- 
cup is shattered, and the garlands shall cease to bloom. Enjoy 
while you may. Be still, O Apaecides, my pupil and my follower ! 



72 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEH. 

I will teach thee mechanism of Nature, her darkest and her 
wildest secrets, the lore which fools call magic, and the mighty 
mysteries of the stars. By this shall thou discharge thy duty to 
the mass ; by this shall thou enlighten thy race. But I will lead 
thee also to pleasures of which the vulgar do not dream ; and 
the day which thou givest to men shall be followed by the sweet 
night which Ihou surrenderesl lo thyself. 

As the Egyptian ceased, there rose about, around, beneath, 
the softest music that Lydia ever taught, or lona ever perfected. 
It came like a stream of sound, bathing the senses unawares ; 
enervating subduing with delight. It seemed the melodies of 
invisible spirits, such as the shepherd might have heard in the 
golden age, floating through the vales of Thessaly, or in the 
noontide glades of Paphos. The words which had rushed to the 
lip of Apsecides, in answer to the sophistries of the Egyptian, died 
tremblingly away. He felt it as a profanation to break upon that 
enchanted strain the susceptibility of his excited nature the 
Greek softness and ardour of his secret soul, were swayed and 
captured by surprise. He sank on the seat with parted lips and 
thirsting ear while in a chorus of voices, bland and melting as 
those which waked Psyche in the Halls of Love rose the follow- 
ing song : 

THE HYMN OF EBOS. 
By the cool banks where soft Cephisus flows, 

A TOice sailed trembling down the waves of air; 
The leaves blushed brighter in the Teian's rose, 

The doyes couch'd breathless in their summer lair; 
While from their hands the purple flowerets fell, 
The laughing Hours stood listening in the sky ; 
From Pan's green cave to Ogle's* haunted cell. 

Heaved the charmed earth in one delicious sigh. 
"liove, sons of earth ! I am the Power of Love, 

Eldest of all the gods with Chaost born ; 
My smile sheds light along the courts above, 

My kisses wake the eyelids of the Morn. 
" Mine are the stars there, ever as ye gaze, 

Ye meet the deep spell of my haunting eyes ! 
Mine is the moon and, mournful if her rays, 
'Tis that she lingers where her Carian lies. ; 
" The flowers are mine the blushes of the rose, 

The violet charming Zephyr to the shade ; 
Mine the quick light that in the May-beam glowa, 

Mine every dream that leaf st the only glade. 
" Love, sons of earth, for love is earth's soft lore ; 

Look where ye will, earth overflows with ME ; 
Learn from the waves that ever kiss the shore, 
And the winds nestling on the heaving sea. 

* The fairest of the Naiads. + Hesiod. 

t The learned reader will recognise this image more than once among the 
ancient poets. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 73 

" All teaches love I" The sweet voice like a dream, 

Melted in light yet still the airs above, 
The waving sedges and the whispering stream. 

And the green forest rustling murmured " LOVE !" 

As the voices died away, the Egyptian seized the hand of 
Apsecides, and led him wandering, intoxicated, yet half reluc- 
tant, across the chamber towards the curtain, at the far end ; and 
now, from behind that curtain, there seemed to burst a thousand 
sparkling stars ; the veil itself, hitherto dark, was now lighted by 
these fires behind into the tenderest blue of heaven. It repre- 
sented heaven itself such a heaven as in the nights of June 
might have shone down over the streams of Castaly. Here and 
there were painted rosy and aerial clouds, from which smiled, by 
the limner's art, faces of the divinest beauty, and on which re- 
posed the shapes of which Phidias and Apelles dreamed. And 
the stars which studded the transparent azure rolled rapidly as 
they shone, while the music that again woke with a livelier 
and lighter sound, seemed to imitate the melody of the joyous 
spheres. * 

"Oh! what miracle is this, Arbaces?" said Apaecides, in 
faltering accents. ' ' After having denied the gods, art thou about 
to reveal to me " 

" Their pleasures !" interrupted Arbaces, in a tone so different 
from its usual cold and tranquil harmony, that Apoecides started, 
and thought the Egyptian himself transformed : and now, as 
they neared the curtain, a wild, a loud, an exulting melody burst 
from behind its concealment. With that sound the veil was, as 
it were, to be rent in twain ; it parted, it seemed to vanish into 
air! and a scene which no Sybarite ever more than rivalled, 
broke upon the dazzled gaze of the youthful priest. A vast 
banquet-room stretched beyond, blazing with countless lights, 
which filled the warm air with the scents of frankincense, of jas- 
mine, of violets, of myrrh ; all seemed gathered into one ineffable 
and ambrosial essence : from the light columns that sprang up- 
ward to the airy roof, hung draperies of white, studded with 
golden stars. At the extremities of the room, two fountains cast 
up a spray, which glittered like countless diamonds. In the 
centre of the room, as they entered, there rose slowly from the 
floor, to the sound of unseen minstrelsy, a table spread with all 
the viands which sense ever devoted to fancy, and vases of that 
lost Myrrhine fabric,* so glowing in its colours, and crowned 
with the exotics of the east. The couches, to which this table, 
was the centre, were covered with tapestries of azure and gold ; 
and from invisible tubes in the vaulted roof descended showers 

Was probably the procelain of China. 



74 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of fragrant waters, that cooled the delicious air, and contended 
with the lamps, as if the spirits of wave and fire disputed which 
element could furnish forth the most delicious odours. And now, 
from behind the snowy draperies, trooped such forms as Adonis 
beheld when he lay on the lap of Venus. They came, some with 
garlands, others with lyres ; they surrounded the youth, they led 
his steps to the banquet. They flung the chaplets round him 
in rosy chains. The earth the thought of earth, vanished from 
his soul. He imagined himself in a dream, and suppressed his 
breath lest he should wake too soon ; the senses to which he 
had never yielded as yet, beat in his burning pulse, and con- 
fused his dizzy and reeling sight. And while thus amazed and 
lost, once again, but in brisk and Bacchic measures, rose the 
magic strain : 

ANAOEEONTIC. 

In the veins of the calix foams and glows 

The blood of the mantling vine, 
But oh ! in the bowl of youth there glows 
A Lesbium, more divine ! 

Bright, bright. 
As the liquid light, 
Its waves through thine eyelids shine I 

Fill up, fill up, to the sparkling brim, 

The juice of the young Lyseus ;" 
The grape is the key that we owe to him, 
From the gaol of the world to free us. 
Drink, Drink, 
What need to shrink, 
When the lamps alone can see us ? 

Drink, drink, as I quaff from thine eyes, 

The wine of a softer tree ; 

Give thy smiles to the god of the grape thy sighs, 
Beloved one, give to me. 

Turn, turn, 
My glances burn, 
And thirst for a look from thee ! 

As the song ended, a group of three maidens, entwined with 
a chain of starred flowers, and who, while they imitated, might 
have shamed the Graces, advanced towards him in the gliding 
measures of the Ionian dance ; such as the Nereids wreathed in 
moonlight on the yellow sands of the ^Egean wave ; such as Cy- 
therea taught her handmaids, in the marriage-feast of Psyche and 
her son. 

Now approaching, they wreathed their chaplets round his 
head ; now kneeling, the youngest of the three proffered him 
the bowl, from which the wine of Lesbos sparkled. The youth 

Name of Bacchus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 75 

resisted no more, he grasped the intoxicating cup. the blood mantl- 
ed fiercely through his veins. He sank upon the breast of the 
nymph, who sat beside him, and turning with swimming eyes to 
seek for Arbaces, whom he had lost in the whirl of his emotions, 
he beheld him seated beneath a canopy, and gazing upon him 
with a smile that encouraged him to pleasure. He beheld him, 
but not as he had hitherto seen, with dark and sable garments, 
with a brooding and solemn brow ; a robe that dazzled the sight, 
so studded was its white surface with gold and gems, blazed upon 
his majestic form ; white roses, alternated with the emerald and 
the ruby, and shaped tiara like, crowned his raven locks. He 
appeared, like Ulysses to have gained the glory of a second youth 
his features seemed to have exchanged thought for beauty, and 
he towered amidst the loveliness that surrounded him, in all the 
beaming and relaxing benignity of the Olympian god. 

" Drink, feast, love, my pupil !" said he ; " blush not that thou 
art passionate and young. That which thou art, thou feelest in 
thy veins that which thou shall be, survey !" 

With this he pointed to a recess, and the eyes of Apascides, 
following the gesture, beheld on a pedestal, placed between the 
statues of Bacchus and Idalia, the form of a skeleton. 

" Start not," resumed the Egyptian ; " that friendly guest ad- 
monishes us but of the shortness of life. From its jaws I hear a 
voice that summons us TO ENJOY." 

As he spoke, a group of nymphs surrounded the statue ; they 
laid chaplets on its pedestal, and while the cups were refilled at 
that glowing board, they sang, 

BACCHIC HYMNS TO THE IMAGE OF DEATH. 

Thou art in the land of the shadowy Host, 

Thou that didst drink and love ; 
By the Solemn Kiver, a gliding ghost, 
But thy thought is ours above ! 
If memory yet can fly, 
Back to the golden sky, 
And mourn the pleasures lost ! 
By the ruined hall these flowers we lay, 
Where thy soul once held its palace ; 
When the rose to thy scent and sight was gay, 
And the smile was in the chalice. 

And the cithara's silver voice 
Could bid thy heart rejoice 
When night eclipsed the day. 

Here a new group advancing, turned the tide of the music into 
a quicker and more joyous strain : 

Death, death is the gloomy shore, 

Where we all sail ; 
Soft, soft, thou gliding oar; 

Blow soft, sweet gale, 



76 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Chain with bright wreaths the hoars, 

Victims if all, 
Ever 'mid song and flowers, 

Victims should fall ! 

Pausing for a moment, yet quicker and quicker danced the 
silver-footed music : 

Since life's so short we'll live to laugh ; 

Ah ! wherefore waste a minute ! 
If youth's the cup we yet can quaff, 

Be love the pearl within it ! 

A third band now approached with brimming cups, which they 
poured in libation upon that strange altar ; and once more, slow 
and solemn, rose the changeful melody : 

Thou art welcome, Guest of gloom, 

From the far and fearful sea ! 
When the last rose sheds its bloom, 

Our board shall be spread with thee! 

All hail, dark Guest! 

Who hath so fair a plea 

Our welcome Guest to be 

As thou, whose solemn hall 

At last shall feast us all- 
in the dim and dismal coast ! 

Long yet be we the Host ! 

And thou, Dead Shadow, Thou, 

All joyless though thy brow, 

Thou but our passing Guest I 

At this moment, she who sat beside Apcecides suddenly took 
up the song : 

Happy is yet our doom, 

The earth and the sun are ours ! 
And far from the dreary tomb. 
Speed the wings of the rosy Hours. 
Sweet is for thee the bowl, 

Sweet are thy looks, my love ; 
I fly to thy tender soul, 
As the bird to its mated dove I 
Take me, ah take ! 
Clasp'd to thy guardian breast, 
Soft let me sink to rest ; 

But wake me, ah wake, 
And toll me with words and sighs, 
And more with thy melting eyes, 

That my sun is not set; 
That the Torch is not quenched at the Um, 
That we love, and we breathe and burn, 

Tell me thou lov'st me yet I 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 77 

BOOK THE SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 

" A FLASH HOUSE " IN POMPEII, AND THE GENTLEMEN OF THE 
CLASSIC RING. 

TO one of those parts of Pompeii, which were tenanted, not 
by the lords of pleasure, but by its minions and its victims ; 
the haunt of gladiators and prize-fighters, of the vicious and the 
penniless, of the savage and the obscene ; the Alsatia of an 
ancient city we are now transported. 

It was a large room, that opened at once on the confined and 
crowded lane. Before the threshold were a group of men, whose 
iron and well-strung muscles, whose short and herculean necks, 
whose hardy and reckless countenances, indicated the champions 
of the arena. On a shelf, without the shop, were ranged jars of 
wine and oil ; and right over this was inserted in the wall a coarse 
painting, which exhibited gladiators drinking so ancient and so 
venerable is the custom of signs ! Within the room were placed 
several small tables, arranged somewhat in the modern fashion 
of "boxes," and round these were seated several knots of men, 
some drinking, some playing at dice, some at that more skilful 
game called ' duodecim scripttz? which certain of the blundering 
learned have mistaken for chess, though it rather, perhaps, re- 
sembled backgammon of the two, and was usually, though not 
always, played by the assistance of dice. The hour was in the 
early forenoon ; and nothing better, perhaps, than that unseason- 
able time itself denoted the habitual indolence of these tavern 
loungers. Yet, despite the situation of the house, and the char- 
acter of its inmates, it indicated none of that sordid squalor 
which would have characterised a similar haunt in a modern 
city. The gay disposition of all the Pompeians, who sought, 
at least, to gratify the sense even where they neglected the 
mind, was typified by the gaudy colours which decorated the 
walls, and the shapes, fantastic but not inelegant, in which the 
lamps, the drinking-cups, the commonest household utensils, 
were wrought. 

" By Pollux ! " said one of the gladiators, as he leant against 
the wall of the threshold, " the wine thou sellest us, old Silenus," 
and as he spoke he slapped a portly personage on the back, 
" is enough to thin the best blood in one's veins." 

The man thus caressingly saluted, and whose bare arms, white 
apron, and keys and napkin tucked carelessly within his girdle, 
indicated him to be the host of the tavern, was already passed 



78 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

into the autumn of his years ; but his form was still so robust 
and athletic, that he might have shamed even the sinewy shapes 
beside him, save that the muscle had seeded as it were into 
flesh, that the cheeks were swelled and bloated, and the increas- 
ing stomach threw into shade the vast and massive chest which 
rose above it. 

" None of thy scurrilous blusterings with me," growled the 
gigantic landlord, in the gentle semi-roar of an insulted tiger ; 
' ' my wine is good enough for a carcase which shall so soon spak 
the dust of the spoliarium."* 

" Croakest thou thus, old raven!" returned the gladiator, 
laughing scornfully ; ' ' thou shall live to hang thyself with de- 
spite when thou seest fne win the palm crown ; and when I get 
the purse at the amphitheatre, as I certainly shall, my first vow 
to Hercules shall be to forswear thee and thy vile potations ever- 
more." 

" Hear to him, hear to this modest Pyrgopolinices ! He has 
certainly served under Bombochides Cluninstaridysarchides," 
cried the host.f " Sporus, Niger, Tetraides he declares he 
shall win the purse from you. Why, by the gods ! each of your 
muscles is strong enough to stifle all his body, or / know nothing 
of the arena !" 

"Ha! "said the gladiator, colouring with rising fury, "our 
lanista would tell a different story." 

"What story could he tell against me, vain Lydon?" .aid 
Tetraides, frowning. 

"Or me, who have conquered in fifteen fights?" said the 
gigantic Niger, stalking up to the gladiator. 

" Or me?" grunted Sporus, with eyes of fire. 

" Tush !" said Lydon, folding his arms, and regarding his rivals 
with a reckless air of defiance. "The time of trial will soon 
come ; keep your valour till then." 

"Ay, do," said the surly host ; "and if I press down my thumb 
to save you, may the Fates cut my thread !" 

" Your rope, you mean," said Lydon, sneeringly ; "here is a 
sesterce to buy one." 

The Titan wine-vendor seized the hand extended to him, and 
gripped it in so stern a vice that the blood spirted from the fingers' 
ends over the garments of the bystanders. 

They set up a savage laugh. 

" The place to which the killed or mortally wounded were dragged from 
the arena. 

Jt Miles Gloriosus, Act I. ; as much as to say in modern phrase, " He has 
served under Bombastes Furioso." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 79 

" I will teach thee, young braggart, to play the Macedonian 
with me ! I am nd puny Persian, I warrant thee ! What, man ! 
have I not fought twenty years in the ring, and never lowered my 
arms once ? and have I not received the rod from the editor's own 
hand as a sign of victory, and as a grace to retirement on my 
laurels? And am I now to be lectured by a boy? 1 ' So saying, 
he flung the hand from him in scorn. 

Without changing a muscle, but with the same smiling face 
with which he had previously taunted mine host, did the gladi- 
ator brave the painful grasp he had undergone. But no sooner 
was his hand released, than crouching for one moment as a wild 
cat crouches, you might see his hair bristle on his head and 
beard, and with a fierce and shrill yell he sprang on the throat 
of the giant with an impetus that threw him, vast and sturdy 
as he was, from his balance ; and down, with the crash of a 
falling rock, he fell ; while over him fell also his ferocious foe. 

Our host perhaps had had no need of the rope so kindly 
recommended to him by Lydon, had he remained three minutes 
longer in that position. But, summoned to his assistance by 
the noise of his fall, a woman, who had hitherto kept in an inner 
apartment, rushed to the scene of the battle. This new ally was 
in herself a match for the gladiator ; she was tall, lean, and with 
arms that could give other than soft embraces. In fact, the 
gentle helpmate of Burbo, the wine-seller, had like himself 
fought in the lists* nay, under the emperor's eye. And Burbo 
himself, Burbo, the unconquered in the field, according to report 
now and then yielded the palm to his soft Stratonice. This 
sweet creature no sooner saw the imminent peril that awajtxt 
her worse half, than without other weapons than thoss with 
which nature had provided her, she darted upon the incumbent 
gladiator, and clasping him round the waist with her long and 
snake-like arms, lifted him with a sudden wrench from the body 
of her husband, leaving only his hands still clinging to the throat 
of his foe. So have we seen a dog snatched by the hind legs 
from the strife with a fallen rival, in the arms of some envious 
groom ; so have we seen one half of him high in air, passive and 
offenceless, while the other half, head, teeth, eyes, claws, seemed 
buried and engulfed in the mangled and prostrate enemy. 
Meanwhile the gladiator 5 , lapped and pampered and glutted 
upon blood, crowded delightedly round the combatants, their 
nostrils distended, their lips grinning, their eyes gloatingly fixed 
on the bloody throat of the one and the indented talons of the 
other. 

Not only did women sometimes fight in the amphitheatre, bat even 
those of noble birth participated in that meek ambition. 



8o THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Haiti! (he has got it !) habetl" cried they with a sort of yell, 
rubbing their nervous hands. 

" Non habeo, ye liars, I have not got it," shouted the host, as 
with a mighty effort he wrenched himself from those deadly 
hands, and rose to his feet, breathless, panting, lacerated, bloody, 
and fronting with reeling eyes the glaring look and grinning teeth 
of his baffled foe, now struggling, but struggling with disdain, in 
4he gripe of the sturdy amazon. 

" Fair play ! " cried the Gladiators, "one to one ;" and crowd- 
ing round Lydon and the woman, they separated our pleasing 
host from his courteous guest. 

But Lydon, feeling ashamed at his present position, and en- 
deavouring in vain to shake off the grasp of the virago, slipped 
his hand into his girdle, and drew forth a short knife. So menac- 
ing was his looks, so brightly gleamed the blade, that Stratonice, 
who was used only to the fistic methods of battle, started back 
in alarm. 

' ' O gods !" cried she, ' ' the ruffian he has concealed weapons ! 
Is that fair? Is that like a gentleman and a gladiator? No, in- 
deed, I scorn such fellows !" With that she contemptously turn- 
ed her back on the gladiator, and hastened to examine the con- 
dition of her husband. 

But he, as much inured to these constitutional exercises as an 
English bull-dog is to a contest with a more gentle antagonist, 
had already recovered himself. The purple hues receded from 
the crimson surface of his cheek, the veins of the forehead retired 
into their wonted size. He shook himself with a complacent 
grunt; satisfied that he was still alive, and then looking at his foe 
from head to foot, with an air of more approbation than he had 
ever bestowed upon him before : 

" By Castor I" said he, " thou art a stronger fellow than I took 
thee for. I see thou art a man of merit and virtue ; give me thy 
hand, my hero." 

"Jolly old Burbo !" cried the gladiators, applauding ; " staunch 
to the backbone. Give him thy hand, Lydon.'' 

" Oh, to be sure," said the gladiator : " but now I have tasted 
his blood, I long to lap the whole." 

" By Hercules !" returned my host, quite unmoved, "that is 
the true gladiator feeling. Pollux ! to think what good training 
may make a man ; why a beast could not be fiercer !" 

"A beast, O dullard I we beat the beasts hollow!" cried 
Tetraides. 

"Well, well," said Stratonice, who was now employed in 
smoothing her hair and adjusting her dress, "if ye are all 
good friends again, I recommend you to be quiet and orderly ; 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 8 1 

lor some young noblemen, your patrons and backers, have sent 
to say they wjll come here to pay you a visit : they wish to 
see you more at their ease than at the schools, before they 
make up their bets on the great fight at the amphitheatre. So 
they always come to rny house for that purpose : they know we 
only receive the best gladiators in Pompeii our society is very 
select." 

' ' Yes, " continued Burbo, drinking off a bowl, or rather a pail 
of wine, " a man who has won my laurels can only encourage the 
brave. Lydon, drink, my boy ; may you have an honourable old 
age like mine !" 

"Come here," said Stratonice, drawing her husband to her 
affectionately by the ears, in that caress which Tibullus has so 
prettily described " Come here!" 

" Not so hard, she-wolf; thou art worse than the gladiator," 
murmured the huge jaws of Burbo. 

"Hist! "said she, whispering him: " Calenus has just stole 
in, disguised, by the back way ; I hope he has brought the ses- 
terces." 

" Ho ! ho ! I will join him," said Burbo ; " meanwhile, I say, 
keep a sharp eye on the cups attend to the score. Let them not 
cheat thee, wife ; they are heroes to be sure, but then they are 
arrant rogues : Cacus was nothing to them." 

" Never fear me, fool," was the conjugal reply; and Burbo, 
satisfied with the dear assurance, strode through the apartment, 
and sought the penetralia of his house. 

"So those soft patrons are coming to look at our muscles," 
said Niger ; " who sent to previse thee of it, my mistress ?" 

" Lepidus. He brings with him Clodius, the surest better in 
Pompeii, and the young Greek, Glaucus." 

"A wager on a wager," cried Tetraides ; " Clodius bets on me 
for twenty sesterces ; what say you, Lydon?" 

" He bets on me/" said Lydon. 

" No, on me I" grunted Sporas. 

" Dolts ! do you think he would prefer any of you to Niger?" 
said the athletic, thus modestly naming himself. 

" Well, well," said Stratonice, as she pierced a huge amphora 
for her guests who had now seated themselves before one of the 
tables, ' ' great men and brave, as ye all think yourselves, which of 
you will fight the Numidian lion, in case no malefactor should be 
found to deprive you of the option?" 

" I, who have escaped your arms, stout Stratonice," said Ly- 
don, "might safely encounter the lion." 

" But tell me," said Tetraides, where is that pretty young slave 

F 



82 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of yours, the blind girl, with bright eyes ? I have not seen her 
a long time." 

" Oh ! she is too delicate for you, my son of Neptune," * 
said the hostess, "and too nice even for us, I think. We send 
her into the town to sell flowers, and sing to the ladies ; she 
makes us more money so than she would by waiting on you. 
Besides, she has often other employments which lie under the 
rose." 

" Other employment !" said Niger ; " why, she is too young for 
them." 

" Silence, beast !" said Stratonice ; " you think there is no play 
but the Corinthian. If Nydia was twice the age she is at present, 
she would be equally fit for Vesta, poor girl." 

" But harkye, Stratonice," said Lydon ; " how didst thou come 
by so gentle and delicate a slave ? she were more meet for the 
handmaid for some rich matron of Rome than for thee." 

" That is true," returned Stratonice ; " and some day or other 
I shall make my fortune by selling her. How came I by Nydia, 
thou askest?" 

"Ay." 

" Why, thou seest, my slave Staphyla, thou rememberest 
Staphyla, Niger?" 

"Ay, a large-handed wench, with a face like a comic mask. 
How should I forget her, by Pluto ! whose handmaid she doubt- 
less is at this moment." 

' ' Tush, brute ! Well, Staphyla died one day, and a great loss 
she was to me, and I went into the market to buy me another 
slave. But, by the gods ! they were all grown so dear since I 
had bought poor Staphyla, and money was so scarce, that I was 
about to leave the place in despair, when a merchant plucked me 
by the robe : ' Mistress.' said he, ' dost thou want a slave cheap? 
I have a child to sell, a bargain. She is but little, and almost an 
infant it is true, but she is quick and quiet, docile and clever, 
sings well and broiders, and is of good blood, I assure you." 
'Of what country?" said I. ' Thessalian.' Now I knew the 
Thessalians were acute and gentle. So I said I would see the 
girl. I found her just as you see her now, scarcely smaller and 
scarcely younger in appearance. She looked patient and re- 
signed enough, with her hands crossed on her bosom and her 
eyes downcast. I asked the merchant his price : it was moderate, 
and I bought her at once. The merchant brought her to my 
house, and disappeared in an instant. Well, my friends, guess 
my astonishment when I found she was blind. Ha ! ha 1 a clever 
fellow that merchant! I ran at once to the magistrates, but the 
Latin phrase for a boisterous fellow. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 83 

rogue was already gone from Pompeii. So I was forced to go 
home in a very ill humour. I assure you : and the poor girl felt 
the effects of it too. But it was not her fault that she was blind, 
for she had been so from her birth. By degrees we got reconciled 
to our purchaso. True, she had not the strength of Staphyla, and 
was of very little use in the house, but she could soon find her way 
about the town, as well as if she had the eyes of Argus ; and when 
one morning she brought us home a handful of sesterces, which 
she said she had got from selling some flowers she had gathered in 
our poor little garden, we thought the gods had sent her to us. 
So from that time, we let her go out as she likes, filling her basket 
with flowers, which she wreathes into garlands after the Thessa- 
lian fashion, which pleases the gallants ; and the great people 
seem to take a fancy to her, for they always pay her more than 
they do any other flower-girl, and she brings all of it home to us 
which is more than any other slave would do. So I work for my- 
self, but I shall soon afford from her earnings to buy me a second 
Staphyla ; doubtless the Thessalian kidnapper had stolen the 
blind girl from gentle parents.* Besides her skill in the garlands, 
she sings and plays on the cithara, which also brings money: and 
lately but that is a secret." 

" That is a secret what!" cried Lydon, "art thou turned 
Sphinx?" 

" Sphinx, no ! why Sphinx?" 

" Cease thy gabble, good mistress, and bring us our meat ; I 
am hungry," said Sporus, impatiently. 

"And I, too," echoed the grim Niger, whetting his knife on 
the palm of his hand. 

The amazon stalked away to the kitchen, and soon returned 
with a tray laden with large pieces of meat, half-raw ; for so, as 
now, did the heroes of the prize-fight imagine they best sustained 
their hardihood and ferocity : they drew round the table with the 
eyes of famished wolves the meat vanished, the wine flowed. 
So leave we those important personages of classic life, to follow 
the steps of Burbo. 

CHAPTER II. 

TWO WORTHIES. 

T N the earlier times of Rome, the priesthood was a profession, 
1 not of lucre, but of honour. It was embraced by the noblest 
citizens it was forbidden to the plebeians. Afterwards, and long 

" The Thessalian slaye-merchants were celebrated for purloining persons 
of birth and education; they did not always spare those of their own 
country. 



84 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

previous to the present date, it was equally open to all ranks, at 
least that part of the profession which embraced the flamens, or 
priests, not of religion generally, but of peculiar gods. Even the 
priest of Jupiter (the Flamen Dialis), preceded by a lictor, and 
entitled by his office to the entrance of the Senate, at first the 
especial dignitary of the patricians, was subsequently the choice 
of the people. The less national and less honoured deities were 
usually served by plebeian ministers, and many embraced the 
profession, as now the Catholic Christians enter the monastic 
fraternity, less from the impulse of devotion than the suggestions 
of a calculating poverty. Thus Calenus, the priest of Isis, was 
of the lowest origin. His relations, though not his parents, were 
freedmen. He had received from them a liberal education, and 
from his father a small patrimony which he had soon exhausted. 
He embraced the priesthood as a last resource from distress. 
Whatever the state emoluments of the sacred profession, which at 
that time were probably small, the officers of a popular temple 
could never complain of the profits of their calling. There is no 
profession so lucrative as that which practises on the superstition 
of the multitude. 

Calenus had but one surviving relative at Pompeii, and that 
was Burbo. Various dark and disreputable ties, stronger than 
those of blood, united together their hearts and interest ; and 
often the minister of Isis stole disguised and furtively from the 
supposed austerity of his devotions ; and gliding through the 
back-door of the retired gladiator, a man infamous alike by vices 
and by profession, rejoiced to throw off the last rag of an hypocrisy 
which, but for the dictates of avarice, his ruling passion, would at 
all times have sat clumsily upon a nature too brutal for even the 
mimicry of virtue. 

Wrapped in one of those large mantles which came in use 
among the Romans in proportion as they dismissed the toga, 
whose ample folds well concealed the form, and in which a sort 
of hood, attached to it, afforded no less a security to the fea- 
tures, Calenus now sat in the small and private chamber of the 
wine-seller, from which a small faux, or passage, ran at once to 
that back entrance with which nearly all the houses of Pompeii 
were furnished. 

Opposite to him sat the sturdy Burbo, carefully counting, on 
a table between them, a little pile of coins which the priest had 
just poured from his purse ; for purses were as common then as 
now, with this difference, they were usually better furnished ! 

" You see," said Calenus, " that we pay you handsomely, and 
you ought to thank me for recommending you to so advantage- 
ous a market." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 85 

" I do, my cousin, I do," replied Burbo affectionately, as he 
swept the coins into a leathern receptacle which he then deposit- 
ed in his girdle, drawing the buckle round his capacious waist 
more closely than he was wont to do in the lax hours of his do- 
mestic avocations. "And by Isis, Pisis, and Nisis, or whatever 
other gods there may be in Egypt, my little Nydia is a very Hes- 
perides, a garden of gold to me." 

" She sings well, and plays like a muse," returned Calenus ; 
"those are virtues that he who employs me always pays 
liberally." 

"He is a god," cried Burbo, enthusiastically; "every rich 
man, who is generous, deserves to be worshipped. But come, a 
cup of wine, old friend : tell me more about it. What does she 
do? she is frightened, talks of her oath, and reveals nothing." 

" Nor will I, by my right hand ; I, too, have taken that terrible 
oath of secrecy." 

" Oaths ! what are oaths to men like us?" 

" True, oaths of a common fashion ; but this" and the stal- 
wart priest shuddered as he spoke. 

"Yet," he continued, in emptying a huge cup of unmixed 
wine, " I will own to thee, that it is not so much the oath that 
I dread, as the vengeance of him who proposed it. By the 
gods ! he is a mighty sorcerer, and could draw my confession 
from the moon, did I dare to make it to her. Talk no more 
of this. By Pollux ! wild as those banquets are which I enjoy 
with him, I am never quite at my ease there. I love, my boy, 
one jolly hour with thee, and one of the plain, unsophisticated, 
laughing girls that I meet in this chamber, all smoke-dried 
though it be, better than whole nights of those magnificent de- 
bauches." 

' ' Ho ! sayest thou so ! to-morrow night, please the gods, we 
will have then a snug carousal." 

" With all my heart," said the priest, rubbing his hands, and 
drawing himself nearer to the table. 

At this moment they heard a slight noise at the door, as of one 
feeling the handle. The priest lowered the cowl over his head. 

" Tush !" whisped the host, " it is but the blind girl," as Nydia 
opened the door and entered the apartment. 

" Ho ! girl, and how dost thou? thou lookest pale, thou hast 
kept late revels! No matter, the young must be always the 
young," said Burbo, encouragingly. 

The girl made no answer, but she dropped on one of the seats 
with an air of lassitude. Her colour went and came rapidly ; she 
beat the floor impatiently with her small feet, then she suddenly 
raised her face, and said with a determined voice 



86 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Master, you may starve me if you will, you may beat me, you 
may threaten me with death, but I will go no more to that unholy 
place." 

" How, fool ! " said Burbo, in a savage voice, and his heavy 
brows met darkly over his fierce and bloodshot eyes ; " How, re- 
bellious! take care." 

" I have said it,", said the poor girl, crossing her hands on her 
breast. 

" What! my modest one, sweet vestal, thou wilt go no more? 
Very well, thou shall be carried." 

" I will raise the city with my cries," said she passionately, and 
the colour mounted to her brow. 

" We will take care of that, too ; thou shall go gagged." 

" Then may the gods help me ! " said Nydia, rising ; " I will 
appeal to the magistrates." 

" Thine oath remember!" said a hollow voice, as for the first 
time Calenus joined in the dialogue. 

At those words, a trembling shook the frame of the unfortunate 
girl ; she clasped her hands imploringly. " Wretch that I am !" 
she cried, and burst violently into sobs. 

Whether or not it was the sound of that vehement sorrow which 
brought the gentle Stratonice to the spot, her grisly form at this 
moment appeared in the chamber. 

"How now ? what hast thou been doing with my slave, brute ?" 
said she, angrily, to Burbo. 

" Be quiet, wife," said he, in a tone half sullen, half timid ; 
" you want new girdles and fine clothes, do you ? Well, then, take 
care of your slave, or you may want them long. V<B capiti tuo 
vengeance on thy head, wretched one ! " 

" What is this?" said the hag, looking from one to the other. 

Nydia started as by a sudden impulse from the wall, against 
which she had leant ; she threw herself at the feet of Strato- 
nice ; she embraced her knees, and looking up at her with 
those sightless, but touching eyes: "O my mistress !" sobbed 
she, "you are a woman, you have had sisters, you have been 
young like me ; feel for me, save me ! I will go to these horrible 
feasts no more !" 

" Stuff!" said the hag, dragging her up rudely by one of those 
delicate hands, fit for no harsher labour than that of weaving the 
flowers which made her pleasure or her trade ; " Stuff 1 these fine 
scruples are not for slaves." 

" Hark ye," said Burbo, drawing forth his purse, and chink- 
ling its contents ; "you hear this music, wife. By Pollux ! if you 
do not break in yon colt with a tight rein, you will hear it no 
more." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 87 

" The girl is tired," said Stratonice, nodding to Calenus ; " she 
will be more docile when you next want her. " 

" You, you! Who is here?" cried Nydia, casting her eyes 
round the apartment with so fearful and straining a survey, that 
Calenus rose in alarm from his seat. 

" She must see with those eyes !" muttered he. 

"Who is here? Speak, in heaven's name! Ah I if you were 
blind like me, you would be less cruel," said she. And she again 
burst into tears. 

"Take her away," said Burbo, impatiently." "I hate these 
whimperings." 

" Come," said Stratonice, pushing the poor child by the 
shoulders. 

Nydia drew herself aside with an air to which resolution gave 
dignity. 

" Hear me," she said. " I have served you faithfully, I who 
was brought up Ah ! my mother, my poor mother ! didst thou 
dream I should come to this?" She dashed the tear from her 
eyes, and proceeded : " Command me in aught else, and I will 
obey ; but I tell you now, hard, stern, inexorable as you are ; I 
tell you that I will go there no more ; or, if I am forced there, that 
I will implore the mercy of the praetor himself. I have said it. 
Hear me ye gods, I swear it !" 

The hag's eyes glowed with fire. She seized the child by the 
hair with one hand, and raised on high the other ; that formid- 
able right hand, the least blow of which seemed capable to crush 
the frail and delicate form that trembled in her grasp. That 
thought itself appeared to strike her, for she suspended the blow, 
changed her purpose, and dragging Nydia to the wall, seized 
from a hook a rope, often, alas ! applied to a similar purpose, and 
the next moment the shrill, the agonised shrieks of the blind girl 
rang piercingly through the house. 



CHAPTER III. 

GLAUCUS MAKES A PURCHASE THAT AFTERWARDS COSTS HIM 
DEAR. 

HOLLO, my brave fellows !" said Lepidus, stooping his head, 
as he entered the low doorway of the house of Burbo. 
" We have come to see which of you most honours your lanista." 
The gladiators rose from the table in respect to three gallants, 
known to be among the gayest and richest youths of Pompeii, 
and whose voices were therefore the dispensers of amphitheatrical 
reputation. 



88 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" What fine animals !" said Clodius to Glaucus ; "worthy to 
be Gladiators." 

" It is a pity they are not warriors," returned Glaucus. 

A singular thing it was to see the dainty and fastidious Lepi- 
dus, whom in a banquet a ray of daylight seemed to blind, whom 
in a breeze of air seemed to blast, in whom nature seemed twisted 
and perverted from every natural impulse, and curdled into one 
dubious thing of effeminacy and art ; a singular thing was it to 
see this Lepidus, now all eagerness and energy, and life, patting 
the vast shoulders of the gladiators with a blanched and girlish 
hand, feeling with a mincing gripe their great brawn and iron 
muscles, all lost in calculating admiration at that manhood which 
he had spent his life in carefully banishing from himself. 

So have we seen at this day the beardless flutterers of the 
saloons of London, thronging round the heroes of the Fives- 
court ; so have we seen them admire and gaze and calculate a 
bet ; so have we seen meet together, in ludicrous yet melancholy 
assemblage, the two extremities of civilised society the patrons 
of pleasure and its slaves vilest of all slaves ! at once ferocious 
and mercenary ; male prostitutes, who sell their strength as 
women their beauty ; beasts in act, but outdoing the beasts in 
motive, for the last, at least do not mangle themselves for 
money ! 

" Ha! Niger, how will you fight?" said Lepidus, "and with 
whom ?" 

" Sporus challenges me," said the grim giant ; " we shall fight 
to the death, I hope." 

" Ah ! to be sure." grunted Sporus, with a twinkle in his small 
eye. 

" He takes the sword, I the net and the trident : it will be rare 
sport. I hope the survivor will have enough to keep up the dig- 
nity of the crown." 

" Never fear, we'll fill the purse, my Hector," said Clodius ; 
" let me see, you fight against Niger? Glaucus, I bet I back 
Niger." 

" I told you so," cried Niger, exultingly. " The noble Clodius 
knows me ; count yourself dead already, my Sporus." 

Clodius took out his tablet. "A bet ten sestertia (about 80). 
What say you?" 

" So be it," said Glaucus : " But whom have we here? I never 
saw this hero before ;" and he glanced at Lydon, whose limbs 
were slighter than those of- his companions, and who had some- 
thing of grace, and something even noble in his face, which his 
profession had not yet wholly destroyed. 

"It is Lydon, a youngster, practised only with the wooden 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 89 

sword as yet," answered Niger, condescendingly. " But he has 
the true blood in him, and has challenged Tetraides." 

" He challenged me" said Lydon : " I accept the offer." 

"And how do you fight?" asked Lepidus : "Chut, my boy, 
wait awhile before you contend with Tetraides." 

Lydon smiled disdainfully. 

" Is he a citizen 01 a slave?" said Clodius. 

"A citizen we are all citizens here," quoth Niger. 

"Stretch out your arm, my Lydon," said Lepidus, with the air 
of a connoisseur. 

The gladiator, with a significant glance at his companions, ex- 
tended an arm which, if not so huge in its girth as those of his 
comrades, was so firm in its muscles, so beautifully symmetrical 
in its proportions, that the three visitors uttered simultaneously an 
admiring exclamation. 

' ' Well, man, what is your weapon ?" said Clodius, tablet in 
hand. 

" We are to fight first with the cestus ; afterwards, if we both 
survive, with swords," returned Tetraides, sharply, and with a 
envious scowl. 

"With the cestus !" cried Glaucus ; "there you are wrong, 
Lydon. The cestus is the Greek fashion ; I knosv it well. You 
should have encouraged flesh for that contest ; you are far too 
thin for it avoid the cestus." 

" I cannot," said Lydon. 

" And why?'' 

" I have said because he has challenged me.", 

" But he will not hold you to the precise weapon." 

" My honour holds me!" returned Lydon, proudly. 

" I bet on Tetraides, two to one, at the cestus," said Clodius ; 
"shall it be, Lepidus? even betting, with swords." 

" If you give me three to one, I will not take the odds," said 
Lepidus ; ' ' Lydon will never come to the swords. You are 
mighty courteous." 

" What say you, Glaucus?" said Clodius. 

" I will take the odds three to one." 

" Ten sesteria to thirty?" 

"Yes."* 

Clodius wrote the bet in his book. 

" Pardon me, noble sponsor mine," said Lydon, in a low voice 
to Glaucus, " but how much think you the victor will gain?" 

* The reader will not confound the sestertii with the sestertia. A sester- 
tiinn, which was a sum not a coin, was a thousand times the value of a ses- 
tertius; the first was equivalent to 8 Is. 5J., the last to a Id. 3| of our 
money. 



90 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" How much? why perhaps seven sestertia." 

" You are sure it will be as much?" 

" At least. But out on you! a Greek would have thought of 
the honour, and not the money Oh ! Romans, everywhere ye 
are Romans !" 

A blush mantled over the bronzed cheek of the gladiator. 

" Do not wrong me, noble Glaucus ; I think of both, but T 
should never have been a gladiator but for the money." 

" Base ! mayest thou fall ! A miser never was a hero." 

" I am not a miser," said Lydon, haughtily, and he withdrew 
to the other end of the room. 

" But I don't see Burbo ; where is Burbo? I must talk with 
Burbo," cried Clodius. 

" He is within," said Niger, pointing to the door at the ex- 
tremity of the room. 

"And Stratonice, the brave old lass, where is she?" quoth 
Lepidus. 

" Why, she was here just before you entered ; but she heard 
something that displeased her yonder, and vanished. Pollux! old 
Burbo had perhaps caught hold of some girl in the back room. 
I heard a female's voice crying out ; the old dame is as jealous as 
Juno." 

" Ho! excellent!" cried Lepidus, laughing. " Come Clodius, 
let us go shares with Jupiter, perhaps he has caught a Leda." 

At this moment a loud cry of pain and terror startled the 
group. 

"Oh, spare me ! spare me ! I am but a child, I am blind. Is 
not that punishment enough?" 

" O Pallas ! I know that voice ; it is my poor flower-girl ! " ex- 
claimed Glaucus, and he darted at once into the quarter whence 
the cry rose. 

He burst the door ; he beheld Nydia writhing in the grasp of 
the infuriated hag ; the cord, already dabbled with blood, was 
raised in the air ; it was suddenly arrested. 

" Fury !" said Glaucus, and with his left hand he caught Nydia 
from her grasp ; "how dare you use thus a girl one of your own 
sex a child? My Nydia, my poor infant." 

" Oh ! is that you is that Glaucus?" exclaimed the flower-girl, 
in a tone almost of transport ; the tears stood arrested on her 
cheek ; she smiled, she clung to his breast, she kissed his robe 
as she clung. 

"And how dare you, pert stranger, interfere between a free 
woman and her slave ! By the gods ! despite your fine tunic and 
your filthy perfumes, I doubt whether you are even a Roman 
citizen, my mannikin." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 91 

" Fair words, mistress, fair words!" said Clodius, now enter- 
ing with Lepidus. ' ' This is my friend and sworn brother ; he 
must be put under shelter of your tongue, sweet one ; it rains 
stones !'' 

" Give me my slave !" shrieked the virago, placing her mighty 
grasp on the breast of the Greek. 

" Not if all your sister Furies could help you," answered 
Glaucus. ' ' Fear not, sweet Nydia ; an Athenian never forsook 
distress !" 

" Hollo !" said Burbo, rising reluctantly, "what turmoil is 
all this about a slave ? Let go the young gentleman wife, let 
him go ; for his sake the pert thing shall be spared this once." 
So saying, he drew, or rather dragged off his ferocious helpmate. 

" Methought when we entered," said Clodius. "there* was 
another man present." 

" He is gone." 

For the priest of Isis had indeed thought it high time to 
vanish. 

"Oh, a friend of mine! a brother cupman, a quiet dog who 
does not love these snarlings," said Burbo carelessly. " But go, 
child ; you will tear the gentleman's tunic if you cling to him_so 
tight ; go, you are pardoned." 

" Oh, do not, do not forsake me ! " cried Nydia, clinging yet 
closer to the Athenian. 

Moved by her forlorn situation, her appeal to him, her own 
innumerable and touching graces, the Greek seated himself on 
one of the rude chairs. He held her on his knees, he wiped the 
blood from her shoulders with his long hair, he kissed the tears 
from her cheeks, he whispered to her a thousand of those sooth- 
ing words with which we calm the grief of a child ; and so beauti- 
ful did he seem in his gentle and consoling task, that even the 
fierce heart of Stratonice was touched. His presence seemed to 
shed light over that base and obscene haunt ; young, beautiful, 
glorious, he was the emblem of all that earth made most happy, 
comforting one that earth had abandoned. 

' ' Well, who could have thought our blind Nydia had been so 
honoured?" said the virago, wiping her heated brow. 

Glaucus looked up at Burbo. 

"My good man," said he, "this is your slave; she sings 
well, she is accustomed to the care of flowers ; I wish to make 
a present of such a slave to a lady. Will you sell her to 
me?" As he spoke he felt the whole frame of the poor girl 
tremble with delight ; she started up, she put her dishevelled 
hair from her eyes, she looked around, as if, alas ! she had the 
power to see I 



92 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Sell our Nydia ! no, indeed," said Stratonice, gruffly. 

Nydia sank back with a long sigh, and again clasped the robe 
of her protector. 

" Nonsense !" said Clodius, imperiously, "you must oblige me. 
What, man! what, old dame! Offend me, and your trade is 
ruined. Is not Burbo my kinsman Pansa's client? Am I not 
the oracle of the amphitheatre and its heroes ? If I say the word, 
break up your wine-jars, you sell no more. Glaucus, the slave is 
yours." 

Burbo scratched his huge head in evident embarrassment. 

" The girl is worth her weight in gold to me." 

" Name your price ; I am rich," said Glaucus. 

The ancient Italians were like the modern, there was nothing 
they would not sell, much less a poor blind girl. 

" I paid six sestertia for her, she is worth twelve now," mut- 
tered Stratonice. 

' ' You shall have twenty ; come to the magistrates at once, and 
then to my house for your money." 

" I would not have sold the dear girl for a hundred, but to 
oblige noble Clodius," said Burbo, whiningly. "And you will 
speak to Pansa about the place of designator at the amphitheatre, 
noble Clodius? It would just suit me." 

"Thou shall have it," said Clodius; adding in a whisper 
to Burbo, "Yon Greek can make your fortune; money runs 
through him like a sieve ; mark to-day with white chalk, my 
Priam." 

" An Dalis ?" said Glaucus, in the formal question of sale and 
barter. 

" Dabitur," answered Burbo. 

" Then, then, I am to go with you with you? O happiness !" 
murmured Nydia. 

" Pretty one, yes ; and thy hardest task henceforth shall be to 
sing thy Grecian hymns to the loveliest lady in Pompeii." 

The girl sprang from his clasp : a change came over her whole 
face, so bright the instant before ; she sighed heavily, and then, 
once more taking his hand, she said 

" I thought I was to go to your house?" 

" And so thou shall for the present ; come, we lose time." 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE RIVAL OF GLAUCUS PRESSES ONWARD IN THE RACE. 

I ONE was one of those brillanl characters which, but once or 
twice, flash across our career, She united in the highest 
perfection the rarest of earthly gifts, Genius and Beauty. No one 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 93 

ever possessed superior intellectual qualities without knowing them ; 
the alliteration of modesty and merit is pretty enough, but where 
merit is great the veil of that modesty you admire never disguises 
its extent from its possessor. It is the proud consciousness of cer- 
tain qualities that it cannot reveal to the every-day world, that gives 
to genins that shy and reserved and troubled air, which puzzles 
and flatters you when you encounter it. Do not deceive yourself, 
vain wordling, by the thought that the embarrassed manner of 
yon great man is a sign that he does not know his superiority to 
you ! that which you take for modesty is but the struggle of self- 
esteem. He knows but too oppressively how immeasurably 
greater he is than you, and is only disconcerted, because, in the 
places you encounter him, he finds himself suddenly descended to 
your level. He has not conversation, he has not thought, he has 
not intercourse with such as you, it is your littleness that discon- 
certs him, not his own ! 

lone, then, knew her genius ; but, with that charming versa- 
tility that belongs of right to women, she had the faculty, so few 
of a kindred genius in the less malleable sex can claim the 
faculty to bend and model her graceful intellect to all whom it 
encountered. The sparkling fountain threw its waters alike upon 
the strand, the cavern, and the flowers ; it refreshed, it smiled, 
it dazzled everywhere. That pride, which is the necessary result 
of superiority, she won easily ; in her breast it concentrated itself 
in independence. She pursued thus her own bright and solitary 
path. She asked no aged matron to direct and guide her ; she 
walked alone by the torch of her own ueflickering purity. She 
obeyed no tyrannical and absolute custom. She moulded custom 
to her own will, but this so delicately, and with so feminine a 
grace, so perfect an exemption from error, that you could not 
say she outraged custom, but commanded it. It was possible 
not to love lone ; perhaps she seemed too high for the love of 
vulgar natures ; but if you did once love her, it was to adoration. 
The wealth of her graces were inexhaustible ; she beautified the 
commonest action ; a word, a look from her, seemed magic. 
Love her, and you entered into a new world, you passed from 
this trite and commonplace earth. You were in a land in which 
your eyes saw everything through an enchanted medium. In 
her presence you felt as if listening to exquisite music ; you were 
steeped in that sentiment which has so little of earth in it, and 
which music so well inspires ; that intoxication which refines and 
exalts which seizes, it is true, the senses but gives them the 
character of the soul. 

She was peculiarly formed then to command and fascinate the 
less ordinary and the bolder natures of men ; to love her was to 



94 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

unite two passions, that of love and of ambition ; you inspired 
when you adored her. It was no wonder that she had completely 
chained and subdued the mysterious but burning soul of the 
Egyptian, a man in whom dwelt the fiercest passions. Her beauty 
and her soul alike enthralled him. 

bet apart himself from the common world, he loved that 
daringness of character which also made itself among common 
things aloof and alone. He did not, or he would not see, that 
that very isolation put her yet more from him than from the 
vulgar. Far as the poles, far as the night from day, his solitude 
was divided from hers. He was solitary from his dark and 
solemn vices ; she from her beautiful fancies, and her purity of 
virtue. 

If it was not strange that lone thus enthralled the Egyptian, 
far less strange was it that she had captured, as suddenly as irre- 
vocably, the bright and sunny heart of the Athenian. The glad- 
ness of a temperament which seemed woven from the beams of 
light, had led Glaucus into pleasure. He obeyed no more vicious 
dictates, when he wandered into the dissipations of his time, 
than the exhilarating voices of youth and health. He threw 
the brightness of his nature over every abyss and cavern through 
which he strayed. His imagination dazzled him, .but his heart 
never was corrupted. Far more penetrating than his companions 
deemed, he saw that they sought to prey upon his riches and his 
youth ; but he despised wealth, save as the means of enjoyment, 
and youth was the great sympathy that united him to them. He 
felt, it is true, the impulse of nobler thoughts and higher aims 
than in pleasure could be indulged ; but the world was one vast 
prison, to which the Sovereign of Rome was the imperial gaoler ; 
and the very virtues, which in the free days of Athens would have 
made him ambitious, in the slavery of earth made him inactive 
and supine. For in that unnatural and bloated civilisation, all 
that was noble in emulation was forbidden. Ambition in the 
regions of a despotic and luxurious court was but the contest of 
flattery and craft. Avarice had become the sole ambition ; men 
desired praetorships and provinces only as the license to pillage, 
and government was but the excuse of rapine. It is in small 
States that glory is most active and pure ; the more confined the 
limits of the circle, the more ardent the patriotism. Opinion is 
concentrated and strong, every eye reads your actions, your pub- 
lic motives are blended with your private ties ; every spot in your 
narrow sphere is crowded with forms familiar since your child- 
hood ; the applause of your citizens is like the caresses of your 
friends. But in large states, the city is but the court ; the 
provinces unknown to you, unfamiliar in customs, perhaps in 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 95 

language have no claim on your patriotism, the ancestry of their 
inhabitants is not yours. In the court you desire favour instead 
of glory ; at a distance from the court public opinion has vanished 
from you, and self-interest has no counterpoise. 

Italy ! Italy ! while I write, your skies are over me, your seas 
flow beneath my feet listen not to the blind policy which would 
unite all your crested cities, mourning for their republics, into one 
empire ; false, pernicious delusion ! your only hope of regenera- 
tion is in division. Florence, Milan, Venice, Genoa, may be free 
once more, if each is free. But dream not of freedom for the whole 
while you enslave the parts ; the heart must be the centre ot the 
system, the blood must circulate freely everywhere ; and in vast 
communities you behold but a bloated and feeble giant, whose 
brain is imbecile, whose limbs are dead, and who pays in disease 
and weakness the penalty of transcending the natural proportions 
of health and vigour. 

Thus thrown back upon themselves, the more ardent qualities 
of Glaucus found no vent, save in that overflowing imagination 
which gave grace to pleasure and poetry to thought. Ease was 
less despicable than contention with parasites and slaves, and 
luxury could yet be refined though ambition could not be en- 
nobled. But all that was best and brightest in his soul woke at 
once when he knew lone. Here was an empire, worthy of demi- 
gods to attain ! here was a glory, which the reeking smoke of a 
foul society could not soil or dim. Love, in every time, in every 
state, can thus find space for its golden altars. And tell me if 
there ever, even in the ages most favourable to glory, could be a 
triumph more exalted and elating than the conquest of one noble 
heart ? 

And whether it was that this sentiment inspired him, his ideas 
glowed more brightly ; his soul seemed more awake and more 
visible in lone s presence. If natural to love her, it was natural 
that she should return the passion. Young, brilliant, eloquent, 
enamoured, and Athenian, he was to her as the incarnation of the 
poetry of her fathers' land. They were not like creatures of a 
world in which strife and sorrow are the elements ; they were like 
things to be seen only in the holiday of nature, so glorious and 
so fresh was their youth, their beauty, and their love. They 
seemed out of place in the harsh and every-day earth ; they be- 
longed of right to the Saturnian age, and the dreams of demigod 
and nymph. It was as if the poetry of life gathered and fed 
itself in them, and in their hearts were concentrated the last rays 
of the sun of Delos and of Greece. 

But if lone was independent in her choice of life, so was her 
modest pride proportionably vigilant and easily alarmed. The 



96 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

falsehood of the Egyptian was invented by a deep knowledge of 
her nature. The story of coarseness of indelicacy in Glaucus, 
stung her to the quick. She felt it a reproach upon her character 
and her career, a punishment above all to her love ; she felt, for 
the first time, how suddenly she had yielded to that love ; she 
blushed with shame at a weakness, the extent of which she was 
startled to perceive ; she imagined it was that weakness which 
had incurred the contempt of Glaucus ; she endured the bitterest 
curse of noble natures humiliation I Yet her love, perhaps, was 
no less ardent than her pride. If one moment she murmured re- 
proaches upon Glaucus ; if oi.e moment she renounced, she almost 
hated him ; at the next she burst into passionate tears, her heart 
yielded to its softness, and she said in the bitterness of anguish, 
" he despises me, he does not love me !" 

From the hour the Egyptian had left her, she had retired to 
her most secluded chamber ; she had shut out her handmaids ; 
she had denied herself to the crowds that besieged her door. 
Glaucus was excluded withjhe rest; he wondered, but he guessed 
not why ! He never attributed to his lone, his queen, his god- 
dess, that womanlike caprice of which the love-poets of Italy so 
unceasingly complain. He imagined her, in the majesty of her 
candour, above all the arts that torture. He was troubled, but 
his hopes were not dimmed, for he knew already that he loved 
and was beloved. What more could he desire as an amulet 
against fear. 

At deepest night, then, when the streets were hushed, and the 
high moon only beheld his devotions, he stole to that temple 
of his heart, her home,* and wooed her after the beautiful 
fashion of his country. He covered her threshold with the richest 
garlands, in which every flower was a volume of sweet passion ; 
and he charmed the long summer night with the sound of the 
Lycian lute, and verses which the inspiration of the moment 
sufficed to weave. 

But the window above opened not ; no smile made yet more 
holy the shining air of night. All was still and dark. He knew 
not if his verse was welcome and his suit was heard. 

Yet lone slept not, nor disdained to hear. Those soft strains 
ascended to her chamber ; they soothed, they subdued her. 
While she listened she believed nothing against her lover ; but 
when they were stilled at last, and his step departed, the spell 
ceased ; and, in the bitterness of her soul, she almost conceived 
in that delicate flattery a new affront. 

I said she was denied to all, but there was one exception. 

Athenseus " The true temple of Cupid is the house of the beloved 
one." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 97 

There was one person who would not be denied, assuming over 
her actions and her house something like the authority of a 
parent. Arbaces for himself claimed an exemption from all the 
ceremonies observed by others. He entered the threshold with 
the license of one who feels that he is privileged and at home. 
He made his way to her solitude, and with that sort of quiet and 
unapologetic air which seemed to consider the right as a thing of 
course. With all the independence of lone's character, his art 
had enabled him to obtain a secret and powerful control over 
her mind. She could not shake it off. Sometimes she desired 
to do so, but she never actively struggled against it. She was 
fascinated by his serpent eye. He arrested, he commanded her 
by the magic of a mind long accustomed to awe and to subdue. 
Utterly unaware of his real character, or his hidden love, she felt 
for him the reverence which genius feels for wisdom, and virtue 
for sanctity. She scarcely considered him as a being, like her- 
self, of the earth, but as an oracle at once dark and sacred. She 
did not love him, but she feared. His presence was unwelcome 
to her ; it dimmed her spirit even in its brightest mood ; he seem- 
ed, with his chilling and lofty aspect, like some eminence which 
casts a shadow over the sun. But she never thought of forbid- 
ding his visits. She was passive under the influence which cre- 
ated in her breast, not repugnance, but something of the stillness 
of terror. 

Arbaces himself now resolved to exert all his arts to possess 
himself of that treasure he so burningly coveted. He was cheered 
and elated by his conquest over her brother. From the hour in 
which Apsecides fell beneath the voluptuous sorcery of that fte 
which we have described, he felt his empire over the young priest 
triumphant and insured. He knew that there is no victim so 
thoroughly subdued as a young and fervent man for the first time 
delivered to the thraldom of the senses. 

When Apaecides recovered, with the morning light, from the 
profound sleep which succeeded to the delirium of wonder and of 
pleasure, he was, it is true, ashamed, terrified, appalled. His 
vows of austerity and celibacy echoed in his ear ; his thirst after 
holiness had been quenched at so unhallowed a stream ? But 
Arbaces knew well the means by which to confirm his conquest. 
From the arts of pleasure, he led the young priest at once to 
those of his mysterious wisdom. He bared to his amazed eyes 
initiatory secrets of the sombre philosophy of the Nile : those 
secrets plucked from the stars, and the wild chemistry which, in 
those days, when reason herself was but the creature of imagina- 
tion, might well pass for the lore of a diviner magic. He seemed 
to the young eyes of the priest as a being above mortality, and 

O 



98 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

endowed with supernatural gifts. That yearning and intense 
desire for the knowledge which is not of earth which had burnt 
from his boyhood in the heart of the priest was dazzled, until it 
confused and mastered his clear sense. He gave himself to the 
art which thus addressed at once the two strongest of human 
passions, that of pleasure and that of knowledge. He was loth 
to believe that one so wise could err ; that one so lofty could 
stoop to deceive. Entangled in the dark web of metaphysical 
moralities, he caught at the excuse by which the Egyptian con- 
verted vice into virtue. His pride was insensibly flattered that 
Arbaces had deigned to rank him with himself; to set him apart 
from the laws which bound the vulgar ; to make him an august 
participator both in the mystic studies and the magic fascinations 
of his solitude. The pure and stern lessons of that creed to 
which Olinthus had sought to make him convert, were swept 
away from his memory by the deluge of new passions. And 
the Egyptian, who was versed in the articles of that true faith, 
and who soon learned from his pupil the effect which had been 
produced upon him by its believers, sought, not unskilfully, to 
undo that effect by a tone of reasoning half sarcastic and half 
earnest. 

"This faith," said he, "is but a borrowed plagiarism from 
one of the many allegories invented by our priests of old. Ob- 
serve," he added, pointing to a hieroglyphical scroll, " observe in 
these ancient figures the origin of the Christians Trinity. Here 
are also three gods, the Deity, the Spirit, and the Son. Observe 
that the epithet of the Son is ' Saviour ;' observe that the sign by 
which his human qualities are denoted is the cross.* Note here, 
too, the mystic history of Osiris ; how he put on death, how he 
lay in the grave, and how, thus fulfilling a solemn atonement, he 
rose again from the dead ! In these stories we but design to 
paint an allegory from the operations of nature and the evolutions 
of the eternal heavens. But, the allegory unknown, the types 
themselves have furnished to credulous nations the materials of 
many creeds. They have travelled to the vast plains of India ; 
they have mixed themselves up in the visionary speculations of 
the Greek ; becoming more and more gross and embodied as they 
emerge farther from the shadows of their antique origin, they have 
assumed a human and palpable form in this novel faith, and the 
believers of Galilee are but the unconscious repeaters of one of 
the superstitions of the Nile !" 

This was the last argument, which completely subdued the 
priest. It was necessary to him, as to all, to believe in some- 

The beKever will draw from this vague coincidence a very different corol- 
lary than that of the Egyptian. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 99 

thing ; and, undivided, and at last unreluctant, he surrendered 
himself to that belief which Arbaces inculcated, and which all that 
was human in passion, all that was flattering in vanity, all that 
was alluring in pleasure, served to invite to and contributed to 
confirm. 

This conquest, thus easily made, the Egyptian could now give 
himself wholly up to the pursuit of a far dearer and mightier ob- 
ject ; and he hailed, in his success with the brother, an omen of 
his triumph over the sister. 

He had seen lone on the day following the revel we have wit- 
nessed, and which was also the day after he had poisoned her 
mind against his rival. The next day, and the next, he saw her 
also ; and each time he laid himself out with consummate aft, 
partly to confirm her impression against Glaucus, and principally 
to prepare her for the impressions he desired her to receive. The 
proud lone took care to conceal the anguish she endured ; and 
the pride of woman has an hypocrisy which can deceive the most 
penetrating and shame the most astute. But Arbaces was no 
less cautious not to recur to a subject which he felt it was most 
politic to treat as of the lightest importance. He knew that by 
dwelling much upon the fault of a rival you only give him dig- 
nity in the eyes of your mistress. The wisest plan is, neither 
loudly to hate nor bitterly to contemn ; the wisest plan is to 
lower him by an indifference of tone, as if you could not dream 
that he could be loved. Your safety is in concealing the wound 
to your own pride, and imperceptibly alarming that of the 
umpire, whose voice is fate ! Such, in all times, will be the 
policy of one who knows the science of the sex. It was now the 
Egyptian's. 

He recurred no more, then, to the presumption of Glaucus. 
He mentioned his name, but not more often than that of Clodius 
or of Lepidus. He affected to class them together as things of 
a low and ephemeral species ; as things wanting nothing of the 
butterfly, save its innocence and its grace. Sometimes he slightly 
alluded to some invented debauch, in which he declared them 
companions. Blinded alike by the pride of lone, and perhaps 
by his own, he dreamed not that she already loved, but he dread- 
ed lest she might have formed for Glaucus the first fluttering pre- 
possessions that lead to love. And secretly he ground his teeth 
in rage and jealousy when he reflected on the youth, the fascina- 
tions, and the brilliancy of that formidable rival he pretended to 
undervalue. 

It was on the fourth day from the date of the close of the pre- 
vious book that Arbaces and lone sat together. 



too THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" You wear your veil at home," said the Egyptian ; " that is 
not fair to those whom you honour with your friendship." 

" But to Arbaces," answered lone, who, indeed, had cast the 
veil over her features to conceal eyes red with weeping ; " to Ar- 
baces, who looks only to the mind, what matters it that the face 
is concealed?" 

" I do look only to the mind," replied the Egyptian ; " show 
me then your face ; for there I shall see it." 

" You grow gallant in the air of Pompeii," said lone, with a 
forced tone of gaiety. 

" Do you think, fair lone, that it is only at Pompeii that I have 
learned to value you?" The Egyptian's voice trembled; he 
paused for a moment, and then resumed. 

" There is a love, beautiful Greek, which is not the love Only 
of the thoughtless and the young ; there is a love which sees not 
with the eyes, which ears not with the ears, but in which soul is 
enamoured of soul. The countryman of thy ancestors, the cave- 
nursed Plato, dreamed of such a love ; his followers have sought 
to imitate it, but it is a love that it is not for the herd to echo ; it 
is a love that only high and noble natures can conceive ; it hath 
nothing in common with the sympathies and ties of coarse affec- 
tion ; wrinkles do not revolt it ; the homeliness of features does 
not deter ; it asks youth, it is true, but it asks it only in the 
freshness of the emotions ; it asks beauty, it is true, but it is the 
beauty of the thought and of the spirit. Such is the love, O 
lone, which is a worthy offering to thee from the cold and the 
austere. Austere and cold thou deemest me ; such is the love 
that I venture to lay upon thy shrine ; thou canst receive it with- 
out a blush." 

"And its name is Friendship !" replied lone. Her answer was 
innocent, yet it sounded like the reproof of one conscious of the 
design of the speaker. 

" Friendship !" said Arbaces, vehemently ; "No, that is a word 
too often profaned to apply to a sentiment so sacred. Friend- 
ship ! it is a tie that binds fools and profligates ! Friendship ! 
it is the bond that unites the frivolous hearts of a Glaucus and a 
Clodius ! Friendship no ; that is an affection of earth, of vulgar 
habits and sordid sympathies ; the feeling of which I speak is 
borrowed from the stars ;* it partakes of that mystic and ineffable 
yearning which we feel when we gaze on them ; it burns, yet it 
purifies ; it is the lamp of naptha in the alabaster vase, glowing 
with fragrant odours, but shining only through the purest vessels. 
No ; it is not love, and it is not friendship, that Arbaces feels for 

Plato. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 101 

lone. Give it no name, earth has no name for it, it is not 
of earth ; why debase it with earthly epithets and earthly asso- 
ciations?" 

Never before had Arbaces ventured so far, yet he felt his 
ground step by step : he knew that he uttered a language which, 
if at this day of affected platonisms would speak unequivocally 
to the ears of beauty, was at that time strange and unfamiliar, 
to which no precise idea could be attached, from which he could 
imperceptibly advance or recede as occasion suited, as hope en- 
couraged or fear deterred. lone trembled, though she knew not 
why ; her veil hid her features, arid masked an expression which, 
if seen by the Egyptian, would have at once damped and en- 
raged him ; in fact, he never was more displeasing to her ; the 
harmonious modulation of the most suasive voice that ever dis- 
guised unhallowed thought fell discordantly on her ear. Her 
wbole soul was still filled with the image of Glaucus ; and the 
accent of tenderness from another only revolted and dismayed ; 
yet she did not conceive that any passion, more ardent than that 
platonism which Arbaces expressed, lurked beneath his words. 
She thought that he, in truth, spoke only of the affection and 
that sympathy which had made a part of those emotions she felt 
for Glaucus ; and could any other footstep than his approach the 
haunted adytus of her heart ? 

Anxious at once to change the conversation, she replied, there- 
fore, with a cold and indifferent voice, " Whomsoever Arbaces 
honours with the sentiments of esteem, it is natural that his ele- 
vated wisdom should colour that sentiment with his own hues ; it 
is natural that his friendship should be purer than that of others, 
whose pursuits and errors he does not deign to share. But tell 
me, Arbaces, hast thou seen my brother of late ? he has not visited 
me for several days ; and when I last saw him his manner dis- 
turbed and alarmed me much : I fear lest he was too precipitate 
in the severe choice that he has adopted, and that he repents an 
irrevocable step." 

" Be cheered, lone," replied the Egyptian. "It is true that 
some l.ttle time since he was troubled and sad of spirit ; those 
doubts beset him which were likely to haunt one of that fervent 
temperament which ever ebbs and flows, and vibrates between 
excitement and exhaustion. But he, lone, he came to" me in his 
anxieties and his distress ; he sought one who pitied and loved 
him ; I have calmed his mind ; I have removed his doubts ; 1 have 
taken him from the threshold of wisdom into its temple ; and be- 
fore the majesty of the goddess his soul is hushed and soothed. 
Fear not, he will repent no more ; they who trust themselves to 
Arbaces never repent but for a moment." 



102 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" You rejoice me," answered lone. " My dear brother! in his 
contentment I am happy." 

The conversation then turned upon lighter subjects. The 
Egyptian exerted himself to please, he condescended even to 
entertain ; the vast variety of his knowledge enabled him to 
adorn and light up every subject on which he touched ; and 
lone, forgetting the displeasing effect of his former words, was 
carried away, despite her sadness, by the magic of his intellect. 
Her manner became unrestrained and her language fluent. 
And Arbaces, who had waited his opportuntity, now hastened 
to seize it. 

" You have never seen," said he, " the interior of my home ; it 
may amuse you to do so : it contains some rooms that may ex- 
plain to you what you have often asked me to describe the fashion 
of an Egyptian house ; not, indeed, that you will perceive in the 
poor and minute proportions of Roman architecture the massive 
strength, the vast space, the gigantic magnificence, or even the 
domestic construction of the palaces of Thebes and Memphis ; 
but something there is, here and there, that may serve to express 
to you some notion of that antique civilisation which has human- 
ised the world. Devote, then, to the austere friend of your youth 
one of these bright summer evenings, and let me boast that my 
gloomy mansion has been honoured with the presence of the 
admired lone." 

Unconscious of the pollutions of the mansion, of the danger 
that awaited her, lone readily assented to the proposal ; the next 
evening was fixed for the visit ; and the Egyptian, with a serene 
countenance, and a heart beating with fierce and unholy joy, de- 
parted. Scarce had he gone when another visitor claimed ad- 
mission. But now we return to Glaucus. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE POOR TORTOISE. NEW CHANGES FOR NYDIA. 

THE morning sun shone over the small and odorous garden 
enclosed within the peristyle of the house of the Athenian. 
He lay reclined, sad and listlessly, on the smooth grass which in- 
tersected the viridarium ; and a slight canopy stretched above 
broke the fierce rays of the summer sun. 

When that fairy mansion was first disinterred from the earth, 
they found in the garden the shell of a tortoise that had been 
its inmate.* That animal, so strange a link in the creation, to 

* I do not know whether it be still preserved (I hope so), but the shell 
of a tortoise was found in the house appropriated, in this work, to Glaucus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 103 

whom Nature seems to have denied all the pleasure of life, save 
life's passive and dreamlike perception, had been the guest of the 
place for years before Glaucus purchased it ; for years, indeed, 
which went beyond the memory of man, and to which tradition 
assigned an almost incredible date. The house had been built 
and rebuilt, its possessors had changed and fluctuated ; genera- 
tions had flourished and decayed ; and still the tortoise dragged 
on its slow and unsympathising existence. In the earthquake, 
which sixteen years before had overthrown many of the public 
buildings of the city, and scared away the amazed inhabitants, 
the house now inhabited by Glaucus had been terribly shattered. 
The possessors deserted it for many years ; on their return, they 
cleared away the ruins which encumbered the viridarium, and 
found still the tortoise unharmed and unconscious of the sur- 
rounding destruction. It seemed to bear a charmed life in its 
languid blood and imperceptible motions ; yet was it not so in- 
active as it seemed ; it held a regular and monotonous course ; 
inch by inch it traversed the little orbit of its domain, taking 
months to accomplish the whole gyration. It was a restless 
voyager, that tortoise ! patiently and with pain did it perform its 
self-appointed journeys, evincing no interest in the things around 
it a philosopher concentred in itself. There was something 
grand in its solitary selfishness ! the sun in which it basked, the 
waters poured daily over it, the air which it sensibly inhaled, were 
its sole and unfailing luxuries. The mild changes of the season, 
in that lovely clime, affected it not. It covered itself with its shell 
as the saint in his piety, as the sage in his wisdom, as the lover 
in his hope. 

It was impervious to the shocks and mutations of time ; it was 
an emblem of time itself slow, regular, perpetual ; unwitting of 
the passions that fret themselves around, of the wear and tear of 
mortality. The poor tortoise ! nothing less than the bursting of 
volcanes, the convulsions of the riven world, could have quenched 
its sluggish spark ! The inexorable Death, that spared not pomp 
or beauty, passed unheedingly by a thing to which death could 
bring so insignificant a change. 

For this animal, the mercurial and vivid Greek felt all the 
wonder an affection of contrast. He could spend hours in sur- 
veying its creeping progress, in moralising over its mechanism. 
He despised it in joy he envied it in sorrow. 

Regarding it now as he lay along the sward, its dull mass 
moving while it seemed motionless, the Athenian murmured to 
himself 

" The eagle dropped a stone from his talons thinking to break 
thy shell the stone crashed the head of a poet. This is the 



104 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

allegory of fate! Dull thing! Thou hadst a father and a 
mother ; perhaps, ages ago, thou thyself hadst a mate. Did 
thy parents love, or didst thou ? Did thy slow blood circulate 
more gladly when thou didst creep to the side of thy wedded 
one? Wert thou capable of affection ? Could it distress thee if 
she was away from thy side ? Couldst thou feel when she was 
present? What would I not give to know the history of thy 
mailed breast ; to gaze upon the mechanism of thy faint desires ; 
to mark what hair-breadth difference separates thy sorrow from 
thy joy? Yet, methinks, thou wouldst know if lone were pre- 
sent ! Thou wouldst feel her coming like a happier air, like a 
gladder sun. I envy thee now, for thou knowest not that she is 
absent ; and I would I could be like thee between the intervals 
of seeing her! What doubt, what presentiment haunts me ! why 
will she not admit me? Days have passed since I heard her 
voice. For the first time life grows flat to me. I am as one who 
is left alone at a banquet, the lights dead, and the flowers faded. 
Ah ! lone, couldst thou dream how I adore thee !" 

From these enamoured reveries, Glaucus was interrupted by 
the entrance of Nydia. She came with her light, though 
"cautious step, along the marble tablinum. She passed the 
portico, and paused at the flowers which bordered the garden. 
She had her water-vase in her hand, and she sprinkled the 
thirsting plants, which seemed to brighten at her approach. 
She bent to inhale their odour. She touched them timidly and 
caressingly. She felt, along their stems, if any withered leaf or 
creeping insect marred their beauty. And as she hovered from 
flower to flower, with her earnest and youthful countenance and 
graceful motions, you could not have imagined a fitter handmaid 
for the goddess of the garden. 

" Nydia, my child," said Glaucus. 

At the sound of his voice, she paused at once listening, blush- 
ing, breathless ; with her lips parted, her face upturned to catch 
the direction of the sound, she laid down the vase, she hastened 
to him ; and wonderful it was to see how unerringly she threaded 
her dark way through the flowers, and came by the shortest path 
to the side of her new lord. 

" Nydia," said Glaucus, tenderly stroking back her long and 
beautiful hair, " it is now three days since thou has been under 
the protection of my household gods. Have they smiled on thee? 
Art thou happy?" 

" Ah ! so happy !" sighed the slave. 

"And now," continued Glaucus, "that thou hast recovered 
somewhat from the hateful recollections of thy former state ; and 
now, that they have fitted thee [touching her broidered tunic] 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 105 

with garments more meet for thy delicate shape ; and now, sweet 
child, that thou hast accustomed thyself to a happiness, which 
may the gods grant thee ever ! I am about to pray at thy hands 
a boon." 

1 ' Oh ! what can I do for thee ? " said Nydia, clasping her 
hands. 

" Listen," said Glaucus, "and young as thou art, thou shalt 
be my confidant. Hast thou ever heard the name of lone ?" 

The blind girl gasped for breath, and turning pale as one of 
the statues which shone upon them from the peristyle, she an- 
swered with an effort, and after a moment's pause 

" Yes, I have heard that she is of Neapolis, and beautiful." 

" Beautiful ! her beauty is a thing to dazzle the day! Neapolis! 
nay, she is Greek by origin ; Greece only could furnish forth such 
shapes. Nydia, I love her !" 

" I thought so," replied Nydia, calmly. 

" I love, and thou shalt tell her so. I am about to send thee 
to her. Happy Nydia, thou wilt be in her chamber, thou wilt 
drink the music of her voice, thou wilt bask in the sunny air of 
her presence !" 

" What! what ! wilt thou then send me from thee?" 

" Thou wilt go to lone," answered Glaucus, in a tone that said, 
" what more canst thou desire?" 

Nydia burst into tears. 

Glaucus, raising himself, drew her towards him with the sooth- 
ing caresses of a brother. 

" My child, my Nydia, thou weepest in ignorance of the hap- 
piness I bestow on thee. She is gentle and kind, and soft as the 
breeze of spring. She will be a sister to thy youth. She will ap- 
preciate thy winning talents ; she will love thy simple graces as 
none other could, for they are like her own. Weepest thou still ? 
fond fool ! I will not force thee, sweet. Wilt thou not do for 
me this kindness?" 

1 ' Well, if I can serve thee, command. See, I weep no longer. 
I am calm." 

"That is my own Nydia," continued Glaucus, kissing her 
hand. " Go, then, to her : if thou art disappointed in her kind- 
ness, if I have deceived thee, return when thou wilt. I do not 
give thee to another, I but lend. My home ever be thy refuge, 
sweet one. Ah ! would it could shelter all the friendless and dis- 
tressed ! But if my heart whispers truly, I shall claim thee again 
soon, my child. My home and lone's will become the same, and 
thou shalt dwell with both." 

A shiver passed through the slight frame of the blind girl, but 
she wept no more ; she was resigned, 



106 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Go, then, my Nydia, to Tone's house ; they shall show thee 
the way. Take her the fairest flowers thou canst pluck ; the vase 
which contains them I will give thee, thou must excuse its un- 
worthiness. Thou shall take, too, with thee the lute that I gave 
thee yesterday, and from which thou knowest so well to awaken 
the charming spirit. Thou shalt give her also this letter, in 
which, after a hundred efforts, I have embodied something of my 
thoughts. Let thy ear catch every accent, every modulation of 
her voice, and tell me, when we meet again, if its music should 
flatter me or discourage. It is now, Nydia, some days since I 
have been admitted to lone ; there is something mysterious in 
this exclusion. I am distracted with doubts and fears ; learn 
for thou art quick, and thy care for me will sharpen tenfold thy 
acuteness learn the cause of this unkindness ; speak of me as 
often as thou canst, let my name come over to thy lips ; insinu- 
ate how I love rather than proclaim it ; watch if she sighs while 
thou speakest, if she answer thee or if she reprove in what accents 
she reproves. Be my friend, plead for me, and oh ! how vastly 
wilt thou overpay the little I have done for thee ! Thou compre- 
hendest, Nydia ; thou art yet a child have I said more than thou 
canst understand?" 

" No." 

" And thou wilt serve me?" 

"Yes." 

" Come to me when thou hast gathered the flowers, and I will 
give thee the vase I spake of ; seek me in the chamber of Leda. 
Pretty one, thou dost not grieve now?" 

" Glaucus, I am a slave ; what business have I with grief or 
joy?" 

' ' Sayest thou so ? No, Nydia, be free. I give thee freedom ; 
enjoy it as thou wilt, and pardon me that I reckoned on thy de- 
sire to serve me." 

" You are offended. I would not, for that which no freedom 
can give, offend you, Glaucus. My guardian, my saviour, my 
protector, forgive the poor blind girl ! She does not grieve even 
in leaving thee, if she can contribute to thy happiness." 

" May the gods bless this grateful heart 1" said Glaucus, greatly 
moved ; and unconscious of the fires he excited, he repeatedly 
kissed her forehead. 

" Thou forgivest me," said she, "and thou wilt talk no more of 
freedom ; my happiness is to be thy slave : thou hast promised 
thou wilt not give me to another " 

" I have promised." 

" And now, then, I will gather the flowers." 

Silently Nydia took from the hand of Glaucus the costly and 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 107 

jewelled vase, in which the flowers vied with each other in hue 
and fragrance ; tearlessly she received his parting admonition. 
She paused for a moment when his voice ceased she did not 
trust herself to reply ; she sought his hand, she raised it to her 
lips, dropped her veil over her face, and passed at once from his 
presence. She paused again as she reached the threshold, she 
stretched her hands towards it, and murmured 

" Three happy days, days of unspeakable delight have I known 
since I passed thee, blessed threshold ! may peace dwell ever with 
thee when I am gone ! And now, my heart tears itself from thee, 
and the only sound it utters bids me die !" 

CHAPTER VI. 

THfi HAPPY BEAUTY AND THE BLIND SLAVE. 

A SLAVE entered the chamber of lone. A messenger from 
Glaucus desired to be admitted. 

lone hesitated an instant. 

" She is blind, that messenger," said the slave ; " she will do 
her commission to none but thee." 

Base is that heart which does not respect affliction ! The 
moment she heard the messenger was blind, lone felt the 
impossibility of returning a chilling reply. Glaucus had chosen 
a herald that was indeed sacred, a herald that could not be 
denied. 

" What can he want with me? what message can he send?" 
and the heart of lone beat quick. The curtain across the door 
was withdrawn ; a soft and echoless step fell upon the marble ; 
and Nydia, led by one of the attendants, entered with her 
precious gift. 

She stood still a moment, as if listening for some sound that 
might direct her. 

"Will the noble lone," said she, in a soft and low voice, 
" deign to speak, that I may know wither to steer these benight- 
ed steps, and that I may lay my offerings at her feet?" 

"Fair child," said lone, touched and soothingly, "give not 
thyself the pain to cross these slippery floors ; my attendants will 
bring to me what thou hast to present ;" and she motioned to the 
handmaid to take the vase. 

"I may give them to none but thee," answered Nydia; and 
guided by her ear, she walked slowly to the place where lone 
sat, and kneeling when she came before her, proffered the vase. 

lone took it from her hand, and placed it on the table at her 
side. She then raised her gently, and would have seated her on 
the couch, but the girl modestly resisted. 



108 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"I have not yet discharged my office," said she; and she 
drew the letter, of Glaucus from her vest. " This will, perhaps, 
explain why he who sent me chose so unworthy a messenger to 
lone." 

The Neapolitan took the letter with a hand, the trembling of 
which Nydia at once felt and sighed to feel. With folded arms, 
and downcast looks, she stood before the proud and stately form 
of lone ; no less proud, perhaps, in her attitude of submission, 
lone waved her hand, and the attendants withdrew ; she gazed 
again on the form of the young slave in surprise and beautiful 
compassion ; then, retiring a little from her, she opened and read 
the following letter : 

" Glaucus to lone sends more than he dares to utter. Is lone 
ill? thy slaves tell me 'no,' and that assurance comforts me. 
Has Glaucus offended lone ? ah ! that question I may not ask 
from them. For five days I have been banished thy presence. 
Has the sun shone? I know it not. Has the sky smiled? it 
has had no smile for me. My sun and my sky are lone. Do I 
offend thee? Am I too bold? Do I say that on the tablet 
which my tongue has hesitated to breathe ? Alas ! it is in thine 
absence that I feel most the spells by which thou has subdued 
me. And absence, that deprives me of joy, brings me courage. 
Thou wilt not see me ; thou hast banished also the common 
flatterers that flock around thee. Canst thou confound me with 
them ? It is not possible ! Thou knowest too well that I am not 
of them ; that their clay is not mine. For even were I of the 
humblest mould, the fragrance of the rose has penetrated me, 
and the spirit of thy nature hath passed within me, to embalm, 
to sanctify, to inspire. Have they slandered me to thee, lone? 
Thou wilt not believe them. Did the Delphic oracle itself tell me 
thou wert unworthy, I would not believe it : and am I less in- 
credulous than thou? I think of the last time we met of the 
song which I sang to thee of the look that thou gavest me 
in return. Disguise it as thou wilt, lone, there is something 
kindred between us, and our eyes acknowledged it, though our 
lips were silent. Deign to see me, to listen to me, and after 
that exclude me if thou wilt. I meant not so soon to say I loved. 
But those words rush to my heart they will have way. Accept, 
then, my homage and my vows. We met first at the shrine of 
Pallas ; shall we not meet before a softer and a more ancient 
altar? 

" Beautiful ! adored lone ! If my hot youth and my Athenian 
blood have misguided and allured me, they have but taught my 
wanderings to appreciate the rest the haven they have attained. 
I hang up my dripping robes on the Sea-god's shrine. I have 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 109 

escaped shipwreck. I have found THEE. lone, deign to see 
me ; thou art gentle to strangers, wilt thou be less mercifu^to 
those of thine own land ? I wait thy reply. Accept the flowers 
which I send ; their sweet breath has a language more eloquent 
than words. They take from the sun the odours they return ; 
they are the emblem of the love that receives and repays tenfold ; 
the emblem of the heart that drunk thy rays, and owes to thee 
the germ of the treasures that it proffers to thy smile. I send 
these by one that thou wilt receive for her own sake, if not for 
mine. She, like us, is a stranger, her father's ashes lie under 
brighter skies ; but, less happy than we, she is blind and a slave. 
Poor Nydia! I seek as much as possible to repair to her the 
cruelties of Nature and of Fate, in asking permission to place her 
with thee. She is gentle, quick, and docile. She is skilled in 
music and the song ; and she is a very Chloris* to the flowers. 
She thinks, lone, that thou wilt love her : if thou dost not, send 
her back to me. 

" One word more. Let me be bold, lone. Why thinkest thou 
so highly of yon dark Egyptian : he hath not about him the air 
of honest men ? We Greeks learn mankind from our cradle ; we 
are not the less profound in that we effect no sombre mien ; our 
lips smile, but our eyes are grave- they observe, they note, they 
study. Arbaces is not one to be credulously trusted ; can it be, that 
he hath wronged me to thee? I think it, for I left him with thee; 
thou sawest how my presence stung him ; since then, thou hast 
not admitted me. Believe nothing that he can say to my disfavour; 
if thou dost, tell me so at once ; for this lone owes to Glaucus. 
Farewell ! this letter touches thine hand ; these characters meet 
thine eyes ; shall they be more blest than he who is their author? 
Once more, farewell!" 

It seemed to lone, as she read this letter, as if a mist had 
fallen from her eyes. What had been the supposed offence of 
Glaucus? that he had not really loved ! And now, plainly, and 
in no dubious terms he confessed that love. From that moment 
his power was fully restored. At every tender word in that letter, 
so full of romantic and trustful passion, her heart smote her. 
And had she doubted his faith, and had she believed another? 
and had she not, at least, allowed to him the culprit's right to 
know his crime, to plead in his defence ? The tears rolled down 
her cheeks, she kissed the letter, she placed it in her bosom ; 
and turning to Nydia, who stood in the_ same place, and in the 
same posture 

"Wilt thou sit, my child," said she, "while I write an answer 
to this letter?" 

' The Greek Flora. 



HO THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"You will answer it, then?" said Nydia, coldly; ''well, the 
slave that accompanied me will take back your answer." 

" For you," said lone, " stay with me ; trust me, your service 
shall be light." 
Nydia bowed her head. 
' What is your name, fair girl?" 
1 They call me Nydia." 
' Your country ?" 

' The land of Olympus Thessaly." 

' Thou shalt be to me a friend," said lone, caressingly, "as 
thou art already half a countrywoman. Meanwhile, 1 beseech 
thee, stand not on these cold and glassy marbles There ! now 
thou art seated, I can leave thee for an instant." 

" lone to Glaucus greeting. Come to me, Glaucus," wrote 
lone ; " come to me to-morrow; I may have been unjust to thee ; 
but I will tell thee, at least, the fault that has been imputed to thy 
charge. Fear not, henceforth, the Egytian ; fear none. Thou 
sayest thou hast expressed too much alas ! in these hasty words 
I have already done so. Farewell !" " 

As lone reappeared with the letter, which she did not dare to 
read after she had written Ah ! common rashness, common 
timidity of love! Nydia started from her seat. 
" You have written to Glaucus?" 
" I have." 

"And will he thank the messenger who gives to him thy 
letter?" 

lone forgot that her companion was blind ; she blushed from 
the brow to the neck, and remained silent. 

" I mean this," added Nydia, in a calmer tone ; " the lightest 
word 'of coldness from thee will sadden him ; the lightest kind- 
ness will rejoice. If it be the first, let the slave take back thine 
answer ; if it be the last, let me. I will return this evening." 

"And why, Nydia," asked lone, evasively, "wouldst thou be 
the bearer of my letter?" 

" It is so, then !" said Nydia. "Ah ! how could it be other- 
wise ; who could be unkind to Glaucus ?" 

"My child," said lone, a little more reservedly than before, 
"thou speakest warmly Glaucus, then, is amiable in thine 
eyes?" 

" Noble lone ! Glaucus has been that to me which neither 
fortune nor the gods have been a friend." 

The sadness, mingled with dignity, with which Nydia uttered 
these simple words, affected the beautiful lone ; she bent do\vn 
and kissed her. " Thou art grateful, and deservedly so ; why 
should I blush to say that Glaucus is worthy of thy grati- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. ill 

tude? Go, my Nydia, take to him thyself this letter, but 
return again. If I am from home when thou returnest as 
this evening, perhaps, I shall be thy chamber shall be pre- 
pared next my own. Nydia, I have no sister, wilt thou be one 
to me?" 

The Thessalian kissed the hand of lone, and then said, with 
some embarrassment 

" One favour, fair lone may I dare to ask it?" 
"Thou canst not ask what I will not grant," replied the 
Neapolitan. 

" They tell me," said Nydia, " that you are beautiful beyond 
the loveliness of earth. Alas ! I cannot see that which gladdens 
the world ? Wilt thou suffer me then to pass my hand over thy 
face ; that is my sole criterion of beauty, and I usually guess 
aright?" 

She did not wait for the answer of lone, but, as she spoke, 
gently and slowly passed her hand over the bending and half- 
averted features of the Greek features which but one image in 
the world can yet depicture and recall ; that image is the muti- 
lated, but all-wondrous, statue in her native city her own Nea- 
polis ; that Parian face, before which all the beauty of the Floren- 
tine Venus is poor and earthly ; that aspect so full of harmony, of 
youth, of genius, of the soul, which modern speculators have sup- 
posed the representation of Psyche.* 

Her touch lingered over the braided hair and polished brow ; 
over the downy and damask cheek ; over the dimpled lip ; the 
swanlike and whitest neck. " I know, now, that thou art beauti- 
ful," she said, " and I can picture thee to my darkness henceforth, 
and for ever !" 

When Nydia left her, lone sank into a deep but delicious 
reverie. Glaucus then loved her ; he owned it yes, he loved 
her. She drew forth again that dear confession ; she paused over 
every word, she kissed every line ; she did not ask why he had 
been maligned, she only felt assured that he had been so. She 
wondered how she had ever believed a syllable against him ; she 
wondered how the Egyptian had been enabled to exercise a 
power against Glaucus ; she felt a chill creep over her as she 
again turned to his warning against Arbaces, and her secret fear 
of that gloomy being darkened into awe. She was awakened 
from these thoughts by her maidens, whc came to announce to 
her that the hour appointed to visit Arbaces was arrived ; she 

The wonderful remains of the statue so called in the Museo Borbonico. 
The face, for sentiment and for feature, is the most beautiful of all which 
ancient sculpture has bequeathed to us. 



112 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

started, she had forgotten the promise. Her first impression was 
to renounce it ; her second, was to laugh at her own fears of her 
eldest surviving friend. She hastened to add the usual ornaments 
to her dress, and doubtful whether she should yet question the 
Egyptian more closely with respect to his accusation of Glaucus, 
or whether she should wait till, without citing the authority, she 
should insinuate to Glaucus the accusation itself, she took her 
way to the mansion of Arbaces. 

CHAPTER VII. 
1ONE ENTRAPPED. THE MOUSE TRIES TO GNAW THE NET. 

DEAREST Nydia ! " exclaimed Glaucus, as he read the 
letter of lone, " whitest-robed messenger that ever passed 
between earth and heaven how, how shall I thank thee?" 

" I am rewarded," said the poor Thessalian. 

" To-morrow 1 to-morrow! how shall I while the hours till 
then?" 

The enamoured Greek would not let Nydia escape him, though 
she sought several times to leave the chamber ; he made her re- 
cite to him, over and over again, every syllable of the brief con- 
versation that had taken place between her and lone ; a thousand 
times, forgetting her misfortune, he questioned her of the looks, 
of the countenance of his beloved ; and then quickly again excus- 
ing his fault, he bade her recommence the whole recital which he 
had thus interrupted. The hours thus painful to Nydia passed 
rapidly and delightedly to him, and the twilight had already 
darkened ere he once more dismissed her to lone with a fresh 
letter and with new flowers. Scarcely had she gone, that Clodius 
and several of his gay companions broke in upon him ; they 
rallied him n his seclusion during the whole day, and his ab- 
sence from his customary haunts ; they invited him to accompany 
them to the various resorts in that lively city, which night and 
day proffered diversity to pleasure. Then, as now, in the south 
for no land, perhaps, losing more of greatness has retained 
more of custom it was the delight of the Italians to assemble at 
the evening ; and, under the porticoes of temples or the shade of 
the groves that interspersed the streets, listening to music or the 
recitals of some inventive tale-teller, they hailed the rising moon 
with libations of wine, and the melodies of song. Glaucus was 
too happy to be unsocial ; he longed to cast off the exuberance 
of joy that oppressed him. He willingly accepted the proposal 
of his comrades, and laughingly they sallied out together down 
the populous and glittering streets. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 113 

In the meantime Nydia once more gained the house of lone, 
who had long left it ; she inquired indifferently whither she had 
gone. 

The answer arrested and appalled her. 

" To the house of Arbaces of the Egyptian? Impossible?" 

" It is true, little one," said the slave who had replied to her 
question. " She has known the Egyptian long." 

"Long! ye gods, yet Glaucus loves her!" murmured Nydia 
to herself. "And has," asked she aloud, " has she often visited 
him before?" 

" Never till now," answered the slave. " If all the rumoured 
scandal of Pompeii be true, it would be better, perhaps, if she had 
not ventured there at present. But she, poor mistress mine, hears 
nothing of that which reaches us ; the talk of the vestibulum 
reaches not to the peristyle."* 

" Never till now !" repeated Nydia. " Art thoti sure?" 

" Sure, pretty one ; but what is that to thee or to us?" 

Nydia hesitated a moment, and then putting down the flowers 
with which she had been charged, she called to the slave who 
had accompanied her, and left the house without saying another 
word. 

Not till she had got half way back to the house of Glaucus did 
she break silence, and even then she only murmured inly : 

' ' She does not dream she cannot, of the dangers into which 
she has plunged. Fool that I am shall I save her ? Yes, for I 
love Glaucus better than myself." 

When she arrived at the house of the Athenian, she learnt that 
he had gone out with a party of his friends, and none knew 
whither. He probably would not be home before midnight. 

The Thessalian groaned ; she sank upon a seat in the hall, and 
covered her face with her hands, as if to collect her thoughts. 
"There is no time to be lost," thought she, starting up. She 
turned to the slave who had accompanied her. 

" Knowest thou," said she, " if lone has any relatives, any in- 
timate friend at Pompeii ?" 

' ' Why, by J upiter ! " answered the slave, ' ' art thou silly en ongh 
to ask the question ? Every one in Pompeii knows that lone has 
a brother who, young and rich, has been under the rose I speak 
so foolish as to become a priest of Isis." 

" A priest of IsSs ! Ogods! his name?" 

" Apsecides." 

" I know it all," muttered Nydia : " brother and sister then are 
to be both victims ! Apaecides 1 yes, that was the name I heard 

Terence. 



114 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

in Ha ! he well, then, knows the peril that surrounds his 

sister. I will to him." 

She sprang up at that thought, and taking the staff which 
always guided her steps, she hastened to the neighbouring shrine 
of Isis. Till she had been under the guardianship of the kindly 
Greek, that staff had sufficed to conduct the poor blind girl from 
corner to corner of Pompeii. Every street, every turning in the 
more frequented parts, was familiar to her ! and as the inhabi- 
tants entertained a tender and half-superstitious veneration for 
those subject to her infirmity, the passsengers had always given 
way to her timid steps. Poor girl, she little dreamt that she 
should, ere very many days were passed, find her blindness her 
protection, and a guide far safer than the keenest eyes. 

But since she had been under the roof of Glaucus, he had 
ordered a slave to accompany her always ; and the poor devil 
thus appointed, who was somewhat of the fattest, and who, after 
having twice performed the journey to lone's house, now saw 
himself condemned to a third excursion (whither the gods only 
knew), hastened after her, deploring his fate, and solemnly assur- 
ing Castor and Pollux that he believed the blind girl had the 
talaria of Mercury as well as the infirmity of Cupid. 

Nydia, however, required but little of his assistance to find her 
way to the popular temple of Isis : the space before it was now 
deserted, and she won without obstacle to the sacred rails. 

" There is no one here," said the fat slave ; "what dost thou 
want, or whom ? knowest thou not that the priests do not live in 
the temple?" 

"Call out," said she, impatiently; "night and day there is 
always one flamen at least watching in the shrines of Isis." 

The slave called no one appeared. 

" Seest thou no one?" 

"No one." 

" Thou mistakes! ; I hear a sigh : look again." 

The slave, wondering and grumbling, cast round his heavy 
eyes, and before one of the altars, whose remains still crowd the 
narrow space, he beheld a form bending as in meditation. 

" I see a figure," said he, " and by the white garments, it is a 
priest." 

" O flamen of Isis !" cried Nydia, " servant of the Most Ancient 
hear me !" 

" Who calls?" said a low and melancholy voice. 

" One who has no common tidings to impart to a member of 
your body ; I come to declare and not to ask oracles." 

" With whom wouldst thou confer? this is no hour for thy con- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 115 

ference ; depart, disturb me not : the night is sacred to the gods, 
the day to men." 

' ' Methinks I know thy voice ; thou art he whom I seek ; yet I 
have heard thee speak but once before. Art thou not the priest 
Apaecides?" 

" I am that man," replied the priest, emerging from the altar, 
and approaching the rail. 

"Thou art! the gods be praised !" Waving her hand to the 
slave, she bade him withdraw to a distance, and he, who naturally 
imagined some superstition connected perhaps with the safety of 
lone could alone lead her to the temple, obeyed, and seated him- 
self on the ground at a little distance. " Hush !" said she, speak- 
ing quick and low ; "art thou indeed Apsecides?" 

" If thou knowest me, canst thou not recall my features?" 

" I am blind," answered Nydia : " my eyes are in my voice, 
and that recognises thee : yet swear that thou art he. " 

" By the gods I swear it, by my right hand, and by the 
Moon." 

" Hush : speak low bend near give me thy hand : knowest 
thou Arbaces? Hast thou laid flowers at the feet of the dead? 
Ah ! thy hand is cold hark yet ! hast thou taken the awful 
vow?" 

"Who art thou, whence comest thou, pale maiden?" said 
Apcecides, fearfully : " I know thee not ; thine is not the breast 
on which this head hath lain ; I have never seen thee before." 

" But thou hast heard my voice : no matter those recollec- 
tions it should shame us both to recall. Listen, thou hast a 
sister?" 

" Speak ! speak ! what of her ?" 

" Thou knowest the Banquets of the Dead, stranger : it pleases 
thee, perhaps, to share them. Would it please thee to have thy 
sister a partaker ? Would it please thee that Arbaces was her 
host?" 

" O gods, he dare not ! Girl, if thou mockest me, tremble. I 
will tear thee limb from limb." 

" I speak the truth ; and while I speak, lone is in the 
halls of Arbaces, for the first time his guest. Thou knowest 
if there be peril in that first time ! Farewell I I have fulfilled 
my charge." 

" Stay ! stay !" cried the priest, passing his wan hand over his 
brow: " If this be true, what, what can be done to save her? 
They may not admit me. I know not all the mazes of that intri- 
cate mansion. O Nemesis ! justly am I punished!" 

" I will dismiss yon slave, be thou my guide and comrade. I 
will lead thee to the private door of the house ; I will whisper to 



Il6 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

thee the word which admits. Take some weapon : it may be 
needful." 

" Wait an instant," said Apsecides, retiring into one of the cells 
that flank the temple, and re-appearing in a few moments wrap- 
ped in a large cloak, which was then much worn by all classes, 
and which concealed his sacred dress. " Now !" he said, grind- 
ing his teeth, ' ' if Arbaces hath dared to but he dare not ! he 
dare not ! Why should I suspect him ? Is he so base a villain ? 
I will not think it yet, sophist ! dark bewilderer that he is ! 
O gods, protect 1 hush ! are there gods ? Yes, there is one god- 
dess, at least, whose voice I can command, and that is 
vengeance ! " 

Muttering these disconnected thoughts, Apsecides, followed by 
his silent and sightless companion, hastened through the most 
solitary paths to the house of the Egyptian. 

The slave, abruptly dismissed by Nydia, shrugged his shoul- 
ders, muttered an adjuration, and, nothing loth, rolled off to his 
cubiculum. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE SOLITUDE AND SOLILOQUY OF THE EGYPTIAN. HIS 
CHARACTER ANALYSED. 

WE must go back a few hours in the progress of our story. 
At the first grey dawn of the day which Glaucus had al- 
ready marked with white, the Egyptian was seated, sleepless 
and alone, on the summit of the lofty and pyramidal tower which 
flanked his house. A tall parapet around it served as a wall, and 
conspired, with the height of the edifice and the gloomy trees 
that girded the mansion, to defy the prying eyes of curiosity or 
observation. A table, on which lay a scroll filled with mystic 
figures, was before him. On high the stars waxed dim and faint, 
and the shades of night melted from the sterile mountain tops ; 
only above Vesuvius there rested a deep and massy cloud, which 
for several days past had gathered darker and more solid over its 
summit. The struggle of night and day was more visible over 
the broad ocean, which stretched calm, like a gigantic lake, and 
bounded by the circling shores that, covered with vines and foli- 
age, and gleaming here and there with the white walls of sleeping 
cities, sloped to the scarce rippling waves. 

It was the hour, above all others, most sacred to the daring 
and antique art of the Egyptian ; the art which would read our 
changeful destinies in the stars. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 117 

He had filled his scroll ; he had noted the moment and the sign ; 
and, leaning upon his hand, he had surrendered himself to the 
thoughts which his calculations excited. 

' ' Again do the stars forewarn me ! Some danger, then, as- 
suredly awaits me !" said he, slowly ; " some danger, violent and 
sudden in its nature. The stars wear for me the same mocking 
menace which, if our chronicles do not err, they once wore for 
Pyrrhus for him, doomed to strive for all things, to enjoy none 
restless, agitated, fated all attacking, nothing gaining bat- 
tles without fruit, laurels without triumph, fame without success ; 
at last made craven by his own superstitions, and slain, like a 
dog, by a tile from the hand of an old woman ; Verily, the stars 
flatter when they give me a type in this fool of war, when they 
promise to the ardour of my wisdom the same results as to the 
madness of his ambition perpetual exercise. No certain goal, 
the Sisyphus task, the mountain and the stone ! the stone,* a 
gloomy image ! it reminds me that I am threatened with somewhat 
of the same death as the Epirote. Let me look again. ' Be- 
ware!' 1 say the shining prophets, 'how thou passest under an- 
cient roofs, or besieged walls, or overhanging cliffs ; a stone, 
hurled from above, is charged by the curses of destiny against 
thee !' And, at no distant date from this, comes the peril : but I 
cannot of a certainty read the day and hour. Well ! if my glass 
runs low, the sands shall sparkle to the last. Yet, if I 'scape 
this peril ay, if I 'scape bright and clear as the moonlight 
track along the waters ^glows the rest of my existence. I see 
honours, happiness, success, shining upon every billow of the 
dark gulf beneath which I must sink at last. What, then, with 
such destinies beyond the peril, shall I succumb to the peril ? My 
soul whispers hope, it sweeps exultingly beyond the boding hour, 
it revels in the future ; its own courage is its fittest omen. If I 
were to perish so suddenly and so soon, the shadow of death 
would darken over me, and I should feel the icy presentiment of 
my doom. My soul, that so smiles within me, would express, in 
sadness and in gloom, its forecast of the dreary Orcus. It smiles ; 
it assures me of deliverance." 

As he thus concluded his soliloquy, the Egyptian involuntarily 
rose. He paced rapidly the narrow space of that star-roofed 
floor ; and, pausing at the parapet, looked again upon the grey 
and melancholy heavens. The chills of the faint dawn came 
refreshingly upon his brow, and gradually his mind resumed its 
natural and collected calm. He withdrew his gaze from the 
stars, as one after one they receded into the depths of heaven ; 
and his eyes fell over the broad expanse below. Dim in the 
silenced port of the city rose the masts of the galleys ; along 



Il8 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

that mart of luxury and of labour was stilled the mighty hum. 
No lights, save here and there from before the columns of a 
temple, or in the porticoes of the voiceless forum, broke the wan 
and fluctuating light of the struggling morn. From the heart 
of the torpid city, so soon to vibrate with a thousand passions, 
there came no sound ; the streams of life circulated not ; they 
lay locked and torpid under the ice of sleep. From the huge 
space of the amphitheatre, with its stony seats rising one above 
the other coiled and round as some slumbering monster arose, 
thin and ghastly mist, which gathered darker, and more dark 
over the scattered foliage that gloomed in its vicinity. The city 
seemed as, after the awful change of seventeen ages, it seems now 
to the traveller a City of the Dead.* 

The ocean itself, that serene and tideless sea, lay scarce less 
hushed, save that from its deep bosom came, softened by the 
distance, a faint and regular murmur, like the breathing of its 
sleep ; and curving far, as with outstretched arms, into the green 
and beautiful land, it seemed unconsciously to clasp to its breast 
the cities sloping to its margin, Stabiae.t and Herculaneum, and 
Pompeii, those children and darlings of the deep. " Ye slum- 
ber," said the Egyptian, as he scowled over the cities, the boast 
and flower of Campania ; "Ye slumber ! would it were the 
eternal repose of death ! As ye are now jewels in the crown of 
empire so once were the cities of the Nile ! Their greatness 
hath perished from them ; they sleep amidst ruin ; their palaces 
and their shrines are tombs ; the serpent coils in the grass of 
their streets ; the lizard basks in their solitary halls. By that 
mysterious law of Nature, which humbles one to exalt the other, 
ye have thriven upon their ruins ; thou haughty Rome, hast 
usurped the glories of Sesostris and Semiramis ; thou art a rob- 
ber, clothing thyself with their spoils ! And these, slaves in thy 
triumph, that I (the last son of forgotten monarchs) survey be- 
low, reservoirs of thine all-pervading power and luxury, I curse 
as I behold ! The time shall come when Egypt shall be aveng- 
ed! when the Barbarian's steed shall make his manger in the 
Golden House of Nero ! and thou that hast sown the wind 
with conquest, shall reap the harvest in the whirlwind of deso- 
lation." 

As the Egyptian uttered a prediction which Fate so fearfully 
fulfilled, a more solemn and boding image of ill omen never 

When Sir Walter Scott visited Pompeii with Sir William Gell, almost 
his only remark was the exclamation, " The City of the Dead the City of 
the Dead!" 

+ Stabse was indeed no longer a city, but it was stil! a favourite site for the 
villas of the rich. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 119 

occurred to the dreams of painter or of poet. The morning 
light, which can pale so wanly even the young cheek of beauty, 
gave his majestic and stately features aimost the colours of the 
grave, with the dark hair falling massively around them, and the 
dark robes flowing long and loose, and the arm outstretched from 
that lofty eminence, and the glittering eyes, fierce with a savage 
gladness half prophet and half fiend ! 

He turned his gaze from the city and the ocean ; before him 
lay the vineyards and meadows of the rich Campania. The gate 
and walls ancient, half Pelasgic of the city, seemed not to 
bound its extent. Villas and villages stretched on every side up 
the ascent of Vesuvius, not nearly then so steep or so lofty as at 
present. For as Rome itself is built on an exhausted volcano, 
so in similar security the inhabitants of the South tenanted the 
green and vine-clad places around a volcano whose fires they be- 
lieved at rest for ever. From the gate stretched the long Street 
of Tombs, various in size and architecture, by which on that side 
the city is yet approached. Above all, rose the cloud-capt sum- 
mit of the dread mountain, with the shadows, now dark, now light, 
betraying the , mossy caverns and ashy rocks, which testified the 
past conflagrations, and might have prophesied but man is blind 
that which was to come ! 

Difficult was it then and there to guess the causes why the tra- 
dition of the place wore so gloomy and stern a hue ; why, in 
those smiling plains, for miles around to Baise and Misenum 
the poets had imagined the entrance and thresholds of their hell 
their Acheron, and their fabled Styx ; why, in those Phlegrse,* 
now laughing with the vine, they placed the battles of the gods, 
and supposed the daring Titans to have sought the victory of 
heaven ; save indeed, that yet, in yon seared and blasted summit, 
fancy might think to read the characters of the Olympian thunder- 
bolt. 

But it was neither the rugged height of the still volcano, nor 
the fertility of the sloping fields, nor the melancholy avenue of 
tombs, nor the glittering villas of a polished and luxurious peo- 
ple, that now arrested the eye of the Egyptian. On one part of 
the landscape, the mountain of Vesuvius descended to the 
plain in a narrow and uncultivated ridge, broken here and 
there by jagged crags and copses of wild foliage. At the base 
of this lay a marshy and unwholesome pool, and the intent gaze 
of Arbaces caught the outline of some living form moving by 
the marshes, and stooping ever and anon as if to pluck its rank 
produce. 

Or, Phlegrcei Campi; vis., scorched or burnt fields. 



120 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Ho !" said he aloud, "I have then another companion in 
these unworldly night-watches. The witch of Vesuvius is abroad. 
What, doth she, too, as the credulous imagine, doth she, too, 
learn the lore of the great stars ? Hath she been uttering foul 
magic to the moon, or culling, as her pauses betoken, foul herbs 
from the venomous marsh? Well, I must see this fellow- 
labourer. Whoever strives to know, learns that no human lore 
is despicable. Despicable only you ye fat and bloated things 
slaves of luxury, sluggards in thought, who, cultivating nothing 
but the barren sense, dream that its poor soil can produce alike 
the myrtle and the laurel. No, the wise only can enjoy ! to us 
only true luxury is given, when mind, brain, invention, experience, 
thought, learning, imagination, all contribute like rivers to swell 
the seas of SENSE ! lone !" 

As Arbaces uttered that last and charmed word, his thoughts 
sunk at once into a more deep and profound channel. His 
steps paused, he took not his eyes from the ground ; once 
or twice he smiled joyously, and then, as he turned from his 
place of vigil, and sought his couch, he muttered, "if death 
frowns so near, I will say at least that I have lived lone shall 
be mine 1" 

The character of Arbaces was one of those intricate and varied 
webs, in which even the mind that sat within it was sometimes 
confused and perplexed. In him, the son of a fallen dynasty, 
the outcast of a sunken people, was that spirit of discontented 
pride, which ever rankles in one of a sterner mould who feels 
himself inexorably shut from the sphere in which his father 
shone, and to which nature as well as birth no less entitled him- 
self. This sentiment hath no benevolence ; it wars with society, 
it sees enemies in mankind. But with this sentiment did not no 
its common companion, poverty. Arbaces possessed wealth 
which equalled that of most of the Roman nobles, And this 
enabled him to gratify to the utmost the passions which had po 
outlet in business and ambition. Travelling from clime to clime, 
and beholding still Rome everywhere, he increased both his 
hatred of society and his passion for pleasure. He was in a vast 
prison, which however he could fill with the ministers of luxury. 
He could not escape from the prison, and his only object, there- 
fore, was to give it the character of the palace. The Egyptians, 
from the earliest time, were devoted to the joys of sense ; Arba- 
ces inherited both their appetite for sensuality and the glow of 
imagination which struck light from its rottenness. But still, 
unsocial in his pleasures as in his graver pursuits, and brooking 
neither superior nor equal, he admitted few to his companion- 
ship, save the willing slaves of his profligacy. He was the soli- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 121 

tary lord of a crowded harem. But with all, he felt condemned 
to that society which is the constant curse of men whose intellect 
is above their pursuits, and that which once had been the impulse 
of passion froze down to the ordinance of custom. From the 
disappointments of sense he sought to raise himself by the culti- 
vation of knowledge ; but as it was not his object to serve man- 
kind, so he despised that knowledge which is practical and use- 
ful. His dark imagination loved to exercise itself in those more 
visionary and obscure researches which are never the most de- 
lightful to a wayward and solitary mind, and to which he him- 
self was invited by the daring pride of his disposition and the 
mysterious traditions of his crime. Dismissing faith in the con- 
fused creeds of the Heathen world, he reposed the greatest faith 
in the power of human wisdom. He did not know, perhaps no 
one in that age distinctly did, the limits which Nature imposes 
upon our discoveries. Seeing that the higher we mount in 
knowledge the more wonders we behold, he imagined that 
Nature not only worked miracles in her ordinary course, but 
that she might, by the cabala of some master soul, be di- 
verted from that course itself. Thus he pursued Science, across 
her appointed boundaries, into the land of perplexity and 
shadow. From the truths of astronomy he wandered into 
astrologic fallacy. From the secrets of chemistry he passed into 
the spectral labyrinth of magic ; and he who could be sceptical as 
to the power of the gods, was credulously superstitious as to the 
power of man. 

The cultivation of magic, carried at that day to a singular 
height among the would-be-wise, was especially eastern in its 
origin ; it was alien to the early philosophy of the Greeks, nor 
had it been received by them with favour until Ostanes, who 
accompanied the army of Xerxes, introduced, amongst the sim- 
ple credulities of Hellas, the solemn superstitions of Zoroaster. 
Under the Roman Emperors it had become, however, natural- 
ised at Rome a meet subject for Juvenal's fiery wit. Intimately 
connected with magic was the worship of Isis, and the Egyptian 
religion was the means by which was extended the devotion to 
Egyptian sorcery. The theurgic, or benevolent magic the 
geotic, or dark and evil necromancy were alike in pre-eminent 
repute during the first century of the Christian era ; and the 
marvels of Faustus are not comparable to those of Apollonius (e).* 
Kings, courtiers, and sages, all trembled before the professors 
of the dread science. And not the least remarkable of his tribe 
was the formidable and profound Arbaces. His fame and his 

* {3ee Note (e) at the end. 



122 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

discoveries were known to all the cultivators of magic ; they even 
survived himself. But it was not by his real and worldly name 
that he was honoured by the sorcerer and the sage. He received 
from their homage a more mystic appellation, and was long re- 
membered in Magna Graecia, and the Eastern plains, by the 
name of " Hermes, the Lord of the Flaming Belt." His subtle 
speculations and boasted attributes of wisdom, recorded in 
various volumes, were anjong those tokens "of the curious arts," 
which the Christian converts most joyfully, yet most fearfully, 
burnt at Ephesus, depriving posterity of the proofs of the cunning 
of the fiend. 

The conscience of Arbaces was solely of the intellect, it was 
awed by no moral laws. If man imposed these checks upon 
the herd, so he believed that man, by superior wisdom, could 
raise himself above them. " If [he reasoned] I have the genius 
to impose laws, have I not the right to command my own crea- 
tions ? Still more, have I not the right to control, to evade, to 
scorn, the fabrications of yet meaner intellects than my own?" 
Thus, if he were a villain, he justified his villiany by what 
ought to have made him virtuous namely, the elevation of his 
capacities. 

As all men have more or less the passion of power, in Arbaces 
that passion corresponded exactly to his character. It was not 
the passion of an external and brute authority. He desired not 
the purple and the fasces, the insigna of vulgar command. His 
pride, his contempt for Rome, which made the world and whose 
haughty name he regarded with the same disdain as that which 
Rome herself lavished upon the barbarian would never have 
permitted him to aspire to sway over others, for that would have 
rendered him at once the tool or creature of the Emperor. He, 
the Son of the Great Race of Rameses he execute the orders 
of, and receive his power from, another! the mere notion filled 
him with rage. But in rejecting an ambition that coveted 
nominal distinctions, he but indulged the more in the ambition 
to rule the heart. Honouring mental power as the greatest of 
earthly gifts, he loved to feel that power palpable in himself, by 
extending it over all whom he encountered. Thus had he ever 
sought the young thus had he ever fascinated and controlled 
them. He loved to find subjects in men's souls to rule over 
an invisible and immaterial empire ; had he been less sensual 
and less wealthy, he might have sought to become the founder 
of a new religion. As it was, his energies were checked by his 
pleasures. Besides, however, the vague love of his moral sway 
vanity so dear to sages ! he was influenced by a singular and 
dream-like devotion to all that belonged to the mystic Land his 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 123 

ancestors had swayed. Although he disbelieved in her deities, 
he believed in the allegories they represented or rather he in- 
terpreted those allegories anew. He loved to keep alive the 
worship of Egypt, because he thus maintained the shadow and 
the recollection of her power. He loaded, therefore, the altars of 
Osiris and of Isis with legal donations, and was ever anxious to 
dignify their priesthood by new and wealthy converts. The vow 
taken, the priesthood embraced, he usually chose the comrades 
of his pleasures from those whom he had made his victims, 
partly because he thus secured to himself their secrecy, partly be- 
cause he thus yet more confirmed to himself his peculiar power. 
Hence the motives of his conduct to Apcecides, strengthened as 
these were, in that instance, by his passion for lone. 

He had seldom lived long in one place ; but as he grew older, 
he grew more wearied of the excitement of new scenes, and he 
had sojourned among the delightful cities of Campania for a 
period which surprised even himself. In fact, his pride some- 
what crippled his choice of residence. He could not live in those 
burning climes, which he deemed of right his own hereditary 
possession, and which now cowered, supine and sunken, under 
the wings of the Roman eagle. Rome herself was hateful to 
his indignant soul ; nor did he love to find his riches rivalled by 
the minions of the court, and cast into comparative poverty by 
the mighty magnificence of the court itself. The Campanian 
cities proffered to him all that his nature craved the luxuries 
of an unequalled clime, the imaginative refinements of a volup- 
tuous civilisation. He was removed from the sight of a superior 
wealth ; he was without rivals to his riches ; he was free from the 
spies of a jealous court. As long as he was rich, none pried into 
his conduct. He pursued the dark tenor of his way undisturbed 
and secure. 

It is the curse of sensualists never to love till the pleasure of 
sense begin -to pall their ardent youth is fritted away in count- 
less desires ; their hearts are exhausted. So, ever chasing love, 
and taught by a restless imagination to exaggerate perhaps its 
charms, the Egyptian had spent all the glory of his years with- 
out attaining the object of his desires. The beauty of to-morrow 
succeeded the beauty of to-day, and the shadows bewildered him 
in his pursuit of the substance. When two years before the 
present date he beheld lone, he saw, for the first time, one whom 
he imagined he could love. He stood, then, upon that bridge of 
life, from which man sees before him distinctly a wasted youth on 
the one side, and the darkness of approaching age upon the other ; 
a time in which we are more than ever anxious perhaps to secure 
to ourselves, ere it be yet too late, whatever we have been taught 



124 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

to consider necessary to the enjoyment of a life of which the 
brighter half is gone. 

With an earnestness and a patience which he had never before 
commanded for his pleasures, Arbaces had devoted himself to 
win the heart of lone. It did not content him to love, he de- 
sired to be loved. In' this hope, he had watched the expanding 
youth of the beautiful Neapolitan ; and knowing the influence 
that the mind possesses over those who are taught to cultivate 
the mind, he had contributed willingly to form the genius and 
enlighten the intellect of lone, in the hope that she would be 
thus able to appreciate what he felt would be his best claim to 
her affection ; viz., a character which, however criminal and per- 
verted, was rich in its original elements of strength and grandeur. 
When we felt that character to be acknowledged, he willingly 
allowed, nay, encouraged her, to mix among the idle votaries of 
pleasure, in the belief that her soul, fitted for higher commune, 
would miss the companionship of his own, and that, in com- 
parison with others, she would learn to love himself. He had 
forgot, that as the sunflower to the sun, so youth turns to youth, 
until his jealousy of Glaucus suddenly apprised him of his error. 
From that moment though, as we have seen, he knew not the 
extent of his danger, a fiercer and more tumultuous direction was 
given to a passion long controlled. Nothing kindles the fire of 
love like a sprinkling of the anxieties of jealousy ; it takes then a 
wilder, a more resistless, flame ; it forgets its softness ; it ceases 
to be tender ; it assumes something of the intensity of the ferocity 
of hate. 

Arbaces resolved to lose, upon cautious and perilous prepara- 
tions, no longer time ; he resolved to place an irrevocable barrier 
between himself and his rivals ; he resolved to possess himself of 
the person of lone : not that in his present love, so long nursed 
and fed by hopes purer than those of passion alone, he would 
have been contented with that mere possession. He -desired the 
heart, the soul, no less than the beauty of lone ; but he imagined 
that once separated by a daring crime from the rest of mankind, 
once bound to lone by a tie that memory could not break, she 
would be driven to concentrate her thoughts in him ; that his arts 
would complete his conquest, and that, according to the true 
moral of the Roman and the Savine, the empire obtained by 
force would be cemented by gentler means. This resolution 
was yet more confirmed in him by his belief in the prophecies 
of the stars ; they had long foretold to him this year, and even 
the present month, as the epoch of some dread disaster, me- 
nacing life itself. He was driven to a certain and limited date. 
He resolved to crowd, monarch-like, on his funeral pyre, all tha.t 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 125 

his soul held most dear. In his own words, if he were to die, 
he resolved to feel that he had lived, and that lone should be 
his own ! 

CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT BECOMES OF IONE IN THE HOUSE OF ARBACES. THE 
FIRST SIGNAL OF THE WRATH OF THE DREAD FOE. 

WHEN lone entered the spacious hall of the Egyptian, the 
same awe which had crept over her brother impressed 
itself also upon her ; there seemed to her, as to him, something 
ominous and warning in the still and mournful faces of those 
dread Theban monsters, whose majestic and passionless features 
the marble so well portrayed, 

" Their look, with the reach of past ages was wise, 
And the soul of eternity thought in their eyes." 

The tall Ethiopian slave grinned as he admitted her, and mo- 
tioned her to proceed. Half-way up the hall, she was met by 
Arbaces himself, in festive robes, which glittered with jewels. Al- 
though it was broad day without, the mansion, according to the 
practice of the luxurious, was artificially darkened, and the lamps 
cast their still and odour-giving light over the rich floors and 
ivory roofs. 

" Beautiful lone," said Arbaces, as he bent to touch her 
hand, "it is you that have eclipsed the day; it is your eyes 
that light up the halls ; it is your breath that fills them with 
perfumes." 

"You must not talk to me thus," said lone, smiling; "you 
forget that your lore has sufficiently instructed my mind to render 
these graceful flatteries to my person unwelcome. It was you 
who taught me to disdain adulation ; will you unteach your 
pupil?" 

There was something so frank and charming in the manner of 
lone, as she thus spoke, that the Egyptian was more than ever 
enamoured, and more than ever disposed to renew the offence he 
had committed ; he, however, answered quickly and gaily, and 
hastened to renew the conversation. 

He led her through the various chambers of a house which 
seemed to contain, to her eyes, inexperienced to other splendour 
than the minute elegance of Campanlan cities, the treasures of 
the world. 

hi the walls were set pictures of inestimable art ; the lights 
shone over statues of the noblest age of Greece. Cabinets of 
gems, each cabinet itself a gem, filled up the interstices of the 
columns ; the most precious woods lined the thresholds, and 



126 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

composed the doors ; gold and jewels seemed prodigalised all 
around. Sometimes they were alone in these rooms ; sometimes 
they passed through silent rows of slaves, who, kneeling as she 
passed, proffered to her offerings of bracelets, of chains, of gems, 
which the Egyptian vainly entreated her to receive. 

" I have often heard," said she wonderingly, "that you were 
rich ; but I never dreamed of the amount of your wealth." 

" Would I could coin it all," replied the Egyptian, "into one 
crown, which I might place upon that snowy brow !" 

"Alas! the weight would crush me; I should be a second 
Tarpeia," answered lone, laughingly. 

" But thou dost not disdain riches. O lone ! they know not 
what life is capable of who are not wealthy. Gold is the great 
magician of earth, it realises our dreams, it gives them the 
power of a god ; there is a grandeur, a sublimity in its pos- 
session : it is the mightiest, yet the most obedient of our 
slaves." 

The artful Arbaces sought to dazzle the young Neapolitan by 
his treasures and his eloquence ; he sought to awaken in her 
the desire to be mistress of what she surveyed ; he hoped that 
she would confound the owner with the possessions, and that the 
charms of his wealth would be reflected on himself. Meanwhile, 
lone was secretly somewhat uneasy at the gallantries which 
escaped from those lips, which, till lately, had seemed to dis- 
dain the common homage we pay to beauty ; and with that deli- 
cate subtlety, which woman alone possesses, she sought to ward 
off shafts deliberately aimed, and to laugh or to talk away the 
meaning from his warming language. Nothing in the world is 
more pretty than that same species of defence ; it is the charm of 
the African necromancer, who professed with a feather to turn 
aside the winds. 

The Egyptian was intoxicated and subdued by her grace even 
more than by her beauty ; it was with difficulty that he suppress- 
ed his emotions ; alas ! the feather was only powerful against the 
summer breezes, it would be the sport of the storm. 

Suddenly, as they stood in one hall, which was surrounded by 
draperies of silver and white, the Egyptian clapped his hands, and 
as if by enchantment, a banquet rose from the floor ; a couch or 
throne, with a crimson canopy ascended simultaneously at the 
feet of lone, and at the same instant from behind the curtains, 
swelled the invisible and softest music. 

Arbaces placed himself at the feet of lone, and children, young 
and beautiful as Loves, ministered to the feast. 

The feast was done, the music sank into a low and subdued 
strain, and Arbaces thus addressed his beautiful guest : 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 127 

" Hast thou never in this dark and uncertain world hast thou 
never aspired, my pupil, to look beyond ; hast thou never wished 
to put aside the veil of futurity, and to behold on the shores of 
Fate the shadowy images of things to be ? For it is not the past 
alone that has its ghosts ; each event to come has also its spec- 
trum, its shade ; when the hour arrives, life enters it, the shadow 
becomes corporeal, and walks the world. Thus, in the land be- 
yond the grave, are ever two impalpable and spiritual hosts the 
things to be, the things that have been ! If by our wisdom we 
can penetrate that land, we see the one as the other, and learn, 
as / have learnt, not alone the mysteries of the dead, but also 
the destiny of the living." 

" As thou hast learnt ! can wisdom attain so far?" 

" Wilt thou prove my knowledge, lone, and behold the repre- 
sentation of thine own fate ? It is a drama more striking than 
those of .ZEschylus ; it is one I have prepared for thee, if thou 
wilt see the shadows perform their part." 

The Neapolitan trembled ; she thought of Glaucus, and sighed 
as well as trembled ; were their destinies to be united? Half in- 
credulous, half believing, half awed, half alarmed by the words 
of her strange host, she remained for some moments silent, and 
then answered, 

' ' It may revolt it may terrify ; the knowledge of the future 
will, perhaps, only embitter the present !" 

"Not so, lone; I have myself looked upon thy future lot, 
and the ghosts of thy future bask in the gardens of Elysium ; 
amidst the asphodel and the rose they prepare the garlands 
of thy sweet destiny ; and the Fates, so harsh to others, weave 
only for thee the web of happiness and love. Wilt thou then 
come and behold thy doom, so that thou mayest behold it 
beforehand?" 

Again the heart of lone murmured " Glaucus ;" she uttered a 
half-audible assent ; the Egyptian rose, and taking her by the 
hand, he led her across the banquet-room ; the curtains with- 
drew, as by magic hands, and the music broke forth in a louder 
and gladder strain ; they passed a row of columns, on either side 
of which fountains cast aloft their fragrant waters ; they descend- 
ed by broad and easy steps into a garden. The eve had com- 
menced ; the moon was already high in heaven, and those sweet 
flowers that sleep by day, and nil with ineffable odours the 
airs of night, were thickly scattered amidst alleys cut through 
the star-lit foliage ; or, gathered in baskets lay like offerings at 
the feet of the frequent statues that gleamed along their path. 

"Whither wouldst thou lead me, Arbaces?" said lone, 
wonderingly. 



128 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"But yonder," said he, pointing to a small building which 
stood at the end of the vista. " It is a temple consecrated to the 
Fates ; our rites require such holy ground." 

They passed into a narrow hall, at the end of which hung a 
sable curtain. Arbaces lifted it ; lone entered, and found herself 
in total darkness. 

"Be not alarmed," said the Egyptian, "the light will rise 
instantly." While he so spoke, a soft and warm and gradual light 
diffused itself around ; as it spread over each object, lone per- 
ceived that she was in an apartment of moderate size, hung 
everywhere with black ; a couch, with draperies of the same hue, 
was beside her. In the centre of the room was a small altar, on 
which stood a tripod of bronze. At one side, upon a lofty 
column of granite was a colossal head of the blackest marble, 
which she perceived, by the crown of wheat ears that encircled 
the brow, represented the great Egyptian goddess. Arbaces stood 
before the altar ; he had laid his garland on the shrine, and 
seemed occupied with pouring into the tripod the contents of 
a brazen vase ; suddenly from that tripod leapt into life a blue, 
quick, darting, irregular flame ; the Egyptian drew back to the 
side of lone, and muttered some words in a language unfamiliar 
to her ear ; the curtain at the back of the altar waved tremulously 
to and fro ; it parted slowly, and in the aperture which was thus 
made, lone beheld an indistinct and pale landscape, which 
gradually grew brighter and clearer as she gazed ; at length she 
discovered plainly trees, and rivers, and meadows, and all the 
beautiful diversity of the richest earth. At length, before the 
landscape, a dim shadow glided ; it rested opposite to lone ; 
slowly the same charm seemed to operate upon it as over the rest 
of the scene ; it took form and shape, and lo ! in its features and 
in its form lone beheld herself ! 

Then the scene behind the spectre faded away, and was suc- 
ceeded by the representation of a gorgeous palace. A throne was 
raised in the centre of its hall, the dim forms of slaves and guards 
were ranged round it, and a pale hand held over the throne the 
likeness of a diadem. 

A new actor now appeared ; he was clothed from head to 
foot in a dark robe ; you saw neither his face nor the outline 
of his figure ; he knelt at the feet of the shadowy lone ; he 
clasped her hand ; he pointed to the throne, as if to invite her 
to ascend it. 

The Neapolitan's heart beat violently. "Shall the shadow 
disclose itself?" whispered a voice beside her, the voice of 
Arbaces. 

"Ah, yes I" answered lone, softly. 



THE LALT DAYS OF POMPEII. 129 

Arbaces raised his hand. The spectre seemed to drop the 
mantle that concealed its form, and lone shrieked. It was 
Arbaces himself that thus knelt before her. 

"This is, indeed, thy fate!" whispered again the Egyptian's 
voice in her ear. "And thou destined to be the bride of 
Arbaces." 

lone started. The black curtain closed over the phantasma- 
goria ; and Arbaces. himself, the real, the living Arbaces, was at 
her feet. 

" Oh, lone ! " said he, passionately gazing upon her ; " listen 
to one who has long struggled vainly with his love, I adore 
thee ! The Fates do not lie. Thou art destined to be mine. I 
have sought the world around, and found none like thee. From 
my youth upward I have sighed for such as thou art. I have 
dreamed till I saw thee ; I wake and I behold thee. Turn not 
away from me, lone ; think not of me as thou hast thought. I 
am not that being, cold, insensate, and morose, which I have 
seemed to thee. Never woman had lover so devoted, so passion- 
ate as I will be to lone. Do not struggle in my clasp ; see, I 
release thy hand. Take it from me if thou wilt. Well, be it 
so ! But do not reject me, lone ; do not rashly reject, judge 
of thy power over me, when thou canst thus transform. I, who 
never knelt to mortal being, kneel to thee. I, who have com- 
manded fate, receive from thee thy own. lone, tremble not ; 
thou art my queen, my goddess ; be my bride ! All the wishes 
thou canst form shall be fulfilled. The ends of the earth shall 
minister to thee. Pomp, power, luxury, shall be thy slaves. Arbaces 
shall have no ambition save the pride of obeying thee. lone, 
turn upon me those eyes ; shed upon me thy smile. Dark is my 
soul when thy face is hid from it ; shine over me, my sun, my 
heaven, my daylight ! lone, lone ! do not reject my love !" 

Alone, and in the power of this singular and fearful man, lone 
was not yet terrified. The respect of his language, the softness 
of his voice, reassured her ; and, in her own purity, she felt pro- 
tection. But she was confused, astonished. It was some mo- 
ments before she could recover the power of reply. 

" Rise, Arbaces !" said she, at length ; and she resigned to him 
once more her hand, which she as quickly withdrew again, when 
she felt upon it the burning pressure of his lips. ' ' Rise ! and if 
thou art serious, if thy language be in earnest " 

" If!" said he, tenderly. 

" Well, then, listen to me. You have been my guardian, my 
friend, my monitor. For this new character I was not prepared. 
Think not," she added quickly, as she saw his dark eyes glitter 
with the fierceness of his passion ; " think not that I scorn, that 

I 



130 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPETt. 

I am not touched, that I am not honoured by this homage. Bui 
say, canst thou hear me calmly?" 

" Ay, though thy words were lightning, and could blast me! " 

" / love another I" said lone, blushingly, but in a firm voice. 

" By the gods ! by hell !" shouted Arbaces, rising to his fullest 
height. " Dare not tell me that ; dare not mock me. It is im- 
possible! Whom hast thou seen ? whom known? Oh, lone! it 
is thy woman's invention, thy woman's art, that speaks ; thou 
wouldst gain time. I have surprised, I have terrified thee. Do 
with me as thou wilt ; say that thou lovest not me. But say not 
that thou lovest another ! " 

" Alas ! " began lone. And then, appalled before his sudden 
and unlooked-for violence, she burst into tears. 

Arbaces came nearer to her ; his breath glowed fiercely on her 
cheek. He wound his arms around her ; she sprang from his 
embrace. In the struggle, a tablet fell from her bosom on the 
ground. Arbaces perceived and seized it. It was the letter that 
morning received from Glaucus. lone sank upon the couch half 
dead with terror. 

Rapidly the eyes of Arbaces ran over the writing. The Nea- 
politan did not dare to gaze upon him. She did not see the 
deadly paleness that came over his countenance ; she marked 
not his withering frown, nor the quivering of his lip, nor the 
convulsions that heaved his breast. He read it to the end ; and 
then, as the letter fell from his hand, he said, in a voice of deceit- 
ful calmness : 

" Is the writer of this the man thou lovest?" 

lone sobbed, but answered not. 

" Speak !" he rather shrieked than said. 

" It is it is!" 

"And his name it is written here his name is Glaticus." 

lone, clasping her hands, looked round as for succour or 
escape. 

" Then hear me," said Arbaces, sinking his voice into a whis- 
per ; ' ' thou shall go to thy tomb rather than to his arms. Whal ! 
thinkest tbou Arbaces will brook a rival such as Ihis puny Greek? 
Whal ! Ihinkesl Ihou lhat he has watched the fruit ripen to yield 
it to another ? Pretly fool no ! Thou art mine all only mine ; 
and thus thus I seize and claim thee !" As he spoke, he caught 
lone in his arms ; and in lhat ferocious grasp was all the energy, 
less of love lhan of revenge. 

But to lone' despair gave supernalural slrenglh. She again 
tore herself from him. She rushed lo lhat parl of the room by 
which she had enlered. She half wilhdrew the curtain ; he seized 
her. Again she broke away from him, and fell exhausted, and 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 131 

with a loud shriek, at the base of the column which supported 
the head of the Egyptian goddess. Arbaces paused for a moment, 
as to regain his breath, and then once more darted upon his 
prey. 

At that instant the curtain was rudely torn aside, the Egyptian 
felt a fierce and strong grasp upon his shoulder. He turned : he 
beheld before him the flashing eyes of Glaucus, and the pale, 
worn, but menacing countenance of Apaecides. " Ha I" he mut- 
tered, as he.glared from one to the other, " what fury hath sent 
ye hither?" 

"AteV' answered Glaucus; and he closed at once with the 
Egyptian. Meanwhile, Apaecides raised his sister, now lifeless, 
from the ground ; his strength, exhausted by his long over- 
wrought mind, did not suffice to bear her away, light and deli- 
cate though her shape : he placed her therefore on the couch, 
and stood over her with a brandished knife, watching the con- 
test between Glaucus and the Egyptian, and ready to plunge his 
weapon into the bosom of Arbaces should he be victorious in the 
struggle. There is, perhaps, nothing on earth so terrible as the 
naked and unarmed contest of animal strength, no weapons but 
those which nature supplies to rage. But the antagonists were 
now locked in each other's grasp ; the hand of each seeking the 
throat of the other the face drawn back the fierce eyes flash- 
ing the muscles strained the veins swelled the lips apart 
the teeth set : both were strong beyond the ordinary power of 
men, both animated by relentless wrath ; they coiled, they wound 
around each other ; they rocked to and fro ; they swayed from 
end to end of their confined arena ; they uttered cries of ire and 
revenge ; they were now before the altar, now at the base of the 
column where the struggle had commenced : they drew back 
for breath, Arbaces leaning against the column, Glaucus a few 
paces apart. 

" O ancient goddess !" exclaimed Arbaces, clasping the column, 
and raising his eyes towards the sacred image it supported ; ' ' pro- 
tect thy chosen ; proclaim thy vengeance against this thing of an 
upstart creed, who with sacrilegious violence profanes thy resting- 
place and assails thy servant." 

As he spoke, the still and vast features of the goddess seemed 
suddenly to glow with life ; through the black marble, as through 
a transparent veil, flushed luminously a crimson and burning 
hue ; around the head played and darted coruscations of livid 
lightning ; the eyes became like balls of lurid fire, and seemed 
fixed in withering and intolerable wrath upon the countenance of 
the Greek. Awed and appalled by this sudden and mystic 
answer to the prayer of his foe, and not free from the hereditary 



132 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

superstitions of his race, the cheeks of Glaucus paled before that 
strange and ghastly animation of the marble ; his knees knocked 
together ; he stood, seized with a divine panic, dismayed, aghast, 
half unmanned before his foe ! Arbaces gave him not breathing 
time to recover his stupor : " Die, wretch !" he shouted in a voice 
of thunder, as he sprang upon the Greek ; "the mighty Mother 
claims thee as a living sacrifice I" Taken thus by surprise in the 
first consternation of his superstitious fears, the Greek lost his 
footing the marble floor was as smooth as glass he slid, he 
fell. Arbaces planted his foot on the breast of his fallen foe. 
Apsecides, taught by his sacred profession, as well as by his 
knowledge of Arbaces, to distrust all miraculous interpositions, 
had not shared the dismay of his companion : he rushed for- 
ward, his knife gleamed in the air the watchful Egyptian 
caught his arm as it descended one wrench of his powerful 
hand tore the weapon from the weak grasp of the priest one 
sweeping blow stretched him to the earth : with a loud and ex- 
ulting yell Arbaces brandished the knife on high. Glaucus gazed 
upon his impending fate with unwinking eyes, and in the stern 
and scornful resignation of a fallen gladiator when at that aw- 
ful instant the floor shook under them with a rapid and convul- 
sive throe ; a mightier spirit than that of the Egyptian was abroad! 
a giant and crushing power, before which sunk into sudden im- 
potence his passion and his arts. It woke it stirred that Dread 
Demon of the Earthquake ; laughing to scorn alike the magic of 
human guile and the malice of human wrath. As a Titan, on 
whom the mountains are piled, it roused itself from the sleep of 
years ; it moved on its daedal couch ; the caverns below groaned 
and trembled beneath the motion of its limbs. In the moment 
of his vengeance and his power, the self-prized demigod was 
humbled to his real clay. Far and wide, along the soil, went 
a hoarse and rumbling sound the curtains of the chamber 
shook as at the blast of a storm the altar rocked the tripod 
reeled and, high over the place of contest, the column trembled 
and waved from side to side ; the sable head of the goddess 
tottered and fell from its pedestal ; and as the Egyptian stooped 
above his intended victim, right upon his bended form, right 
between the shoulder and the neck, struck the marble mass! 
The shock stretched him like the blow of death, at once, sudden- 
ly, without sound or motion or semblance of life upon the floor ; 
apparently crushed by the very divinity he had impiously animat- 
ed and invoked ! 

"The earth has preserved her children," said Glaucus, stag- 
gering to his feet. ' ' Blessed be the dread convulsion ! Let us 
worship the providence of the gods !" He assisted Apoecides to 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 133 

rise, and then turned upward the face of Arbaces ; it seemed 
locked as in death, blood gushed from the Egyptian's lips over 
his glittering robes ; he fell heavily from the arms of Glaucus, 
and the red stream trickled slowly along the marble. Again 
the earth shook beneath their feet, they were forced to cling to 
each other ; the convulsion ceased as suddenly as it came ; they 
tarried no longer ; Glaucus bore lone lightly in his arms, and 
they fled from the unhallowed spot. But scarce had they entered 
the garden, than they were met on all sides by flying and dis- 
ordered groups of women and slaves, whose festive and glittering 
garments contrasted in mockery the solemn terror of the hour ; 
they did not appear to heed the strangers, they were occupied 
only with their own fears. After the tranquility of sixteen years, 
that burning and treacherous soil again menaced destruction ; 
they uttered but one outcry " THE EARTHQUAKE! THE EARTH- 
QUAKE !" And passing unmolested from the midst of them, 
Apaecides and his companions, without entering the house, has- 
tened down one of the alleys, passed a small open gate, and 
there, sitting on a little mound, over which gloomed the dark 
green aloes, the moonlight fell on the bended figure of the blind 
girl she was weeping bitterly. 



BOOK THE THIRD. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE FORUM OF THE POMPEIANS. THE FIRST RUDE 
MACHINERY BY WHICH THE NEW ERA OF THE WORLD 
WAS WROUGHT. 

IT was early noon, and the forum was crowded alike with the 
busy and the idle. As at Paris at this day, so at that time 
in the cities of Italy, men lived almost wholly out of doors : the 
public buildings, the forum, the porticoes, the baths, the temples 
themselves, might be considered their real homes ; it was no 
wonder that they decorated so gorgeously these favourite places 
of resort they felt for them a sort of domestic affection as well 
as a public pride. And animated was indeed the aspect of the 
Forum of Pompeii at that time ! Along its broad pavement, 
composed of large flags of marble, were assembled various 
groups, conversing in that energetic fashion which appropriates 
a gesture to every word, and which is still the characteristic of 
the people of the south. Here, in seven stalls on one side the 



134 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

colonnade, sat the money-changers, with their glittering heaps 
before them, and merchants and seamen in various costumes 
crowding round their stalls. On one side, several men in long 
togas* were seen bustling rapidly up to a stately edifice, where 
the magistrates administered justice ; these were the lawyers, 
active, chattering, joking, and punning, as you may find them at 
this day in Westminster. In the centre of the space, pedestals 
supported various statues, of which the most remarkable was the 
stately form of Cicero. Around the court ran a regular and 
symmetrical colonnade of Doric architecture ; and there several 
whose business drew them early to the place, were taking the 
slight morning repast which made an Italian breakfast, talking 
vehemently on the earthquake of the preceding night, as they 
dipped pieces of bread in their cups of diluted wine. In the 
open space, too, you might perceive various petty traders exer- 
cising the arts of their calling. Here, one man was holding out 
ribands to a fair dame from the country ; another man was 
vaunting to a stout farmer the excellence of his shoes ; a third a 
kind of stall-restaurateur, still so common in the Italian cities, 
was supplying many a hungry mouth with hot messes from his 
small and itinerant stove ; while contrast strongly typical of the 
mingled bustle and intellect of the time close by, a schoolmaster 
was expounding to his puzzled pupils the elements of the Latin 
gramma, f A gallery above the portico, which was ascended by 
small wooden staircases, had also its throng ; though, as here 
the immediate business of the place was mainly carried on, its 
groups wore a more quiet and serious air. 

Every now and then the crowd below respectfully gave way as 
some senator swept along to the temple of Jupiter (which filled 
up one side of the forum, and was the senators' hall of meeting), 
nodding with ostentatious condescension to such of his friends 
or clients as he distinguished amongst the throng. Mingling 
amidst the gay dresses of the better orders you saw the hardy 
forms of the neighbouring farmers, as they made their way to the 
public granaries. Hard by the temple you caught a view of the 
Triumphal Arch, and the long street beyond swarming with in- 

* For the lawyers, and the clients, when attending on their patrons, re- 
tained the toga after it had fallen into disuse among the rest of the 
citizens. 

+ In the Museum at Naples is a picture little known, but representing 
one side of the forum at Pompeii as then existing, to which I am much in- 
debted in the present description. It may afford a learned consolation to 
my younger readers to know that the ceremony of hoisting (more honoured 
in the breach than the observance) is of high antiquity, and seems to hare 
been performed with all legitimate and public vigour in the forum of 
Pompeii. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 135 

habitants ; in one of the niches of the arch a fountain played, 
cheerily sparkling in the sunbeams ; and above its cornice, 
strongly contrasting the gay summer skies, gloomed the bronzed 
and equestrian statue of Caligula. Behind the stalls of the 
money-changers was that building now called the Pantheon ; and 
a crowd of the poorer Pompeians passed through the small vesti- 
bule which admitted to the interior, with panniers under their 
arms, pressing on towards a platform, placed between two 
columns, where such provisions as the priests had rescued from 
sacrifice were exposed for sale. 

At one of the public edifices appropriated to the business of 
the city, workmen were employed upon the columns, and you 
heard the noise of their labour every now and then rising 
above the hum of the multitude : the columns are unfinished to 
this day I 

All, then, united, nothing could exceed in variety the costumes 
the ranks, the manners, the occupations of the crowd ; nothing 
could exceed the bustle, the gaiety, the animation, the flow and 
flush of life all around. You saw there all the myriad signs of a 
heated and feverish civilisation ; where pleasure and commerce, 
idleness and labour, avarice and ambition, mingled in one gulf 
their motley rushing, yet harmonious, streams. 

Facing the steps of the Temple of Jupiter, with folded arms, 
and a knit and contemptuous brow, stood a man of about fifty 
years of age. His dress was remarkably plain not so much 
from its material, as from the absence of all those ornaments 
which were worn by the Pompeians of every rank partly from 
the love of show, partly also because they were chiefly wrought 
into those shapes deemed most efficacious in resisting the 
assaults of magic and the influence of the evil eye (/).* His 
forehead was high and bald ; the few locks that remained at the 
back of the head were concealed by a sort of cowl, which made 
a part of his cloak, to be raised or lowered at pleasure, and was 
now drawn half-way over the head, as a protection from the rays 
of the sun. The colour of his garments was brown, no popular 
hue with the Pompeians ; all the usual admixtures of scarlet or 
purple seemed carefully excluded. His belt, or girdle, contained 
a small receptacle for ink, which hooked on to the girdle, a stilus 
(or implement of writing), and tablets of no ordinary size. What 
was rather remarkable, the cincture held no purse, which was the 
almost indispensable appurtenance of the girdle, even when that 
purse had the misfortune to be empty ! 

It was not often that the gay and egotistical Pompeians busied 
themselves with observing the countenances and actions of their 
~See Note(/) at the end! 



136 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

neighbours ; but there was that in the lip and eye of this bystander 
so remarkably bitter and disdainful, as he surveyed the religious 
procession sweeping up the stairs of the temple, that it could not 
fail to arrest the notice of many. 

" Who is yon cynic?" asked a merchant of his companion, a 
jeweller. 

" It is Olinthus," replied the jeweller, " a reputed Nazarene." 

The merchant shuddered. "A dread sect !" said he, in a whis- 
pered and fearful voice. "It is said that, when they meet at 
nights, they always commence their ceremonies by the murder 
of a new-born babe ; they profess a community of goods, too, 
the wretches ! a community of goods ! What would become 
of merchants, or jewellers either, if such notions were in 
fashion?" 

" That is very trne," said the jeweller ; "besides, they wear no 
jewels, they mutter imprecations when they see a serpent, and at 
Pompeii all our ornaments are serpentine." 

" Do but observe," said a third, who was a fabricant of bronze, 
" how yon Nazarene scowls at the piety of the sacrificial proces- 
sion. He is murmuring curses on the temple, be sure. Do you 
know, Celsinus, that this fellow, passing by my shop the other 
day, and seeing me employed on a statue of Minerva, told me, 
with a frown, that, had it been marble he would have broken it ; 
but the bronze was too strong for him. ' Break a goddess !' said 
I. ' A goddess !' answered the atheist ; ' it is a demon, an evil 
spirit. 1 Then he passed on his way cursing. Are such things 
to be borne ? What marvel that the earth heaved so fearfully 
last night, anxious to reject the atheist from her bosom ? An 
atheist do I say ? worse still, a scorner of the fine arts ! Woe 
to us fabricants of bronze, if such fellows as this give the law to 
society ! " 

"These are the incendaries that burnt Rome under Nero," 
groaned the jeweller. 

While such were the friendly remarks provoked by the air and 
faith of the Nazarene, Olinthus himself became sensible of the 
effect he was producing ; he turned his eyes round, and observed 
the intent faces of the accumulating throng, whispering as they 
gazed ; and surveying them for a moment with an expression, first 
of defiance and afterwards of compassion, he gathered his cloak 
round him, and passed on, muttering audibly, "Deluded idola- 
ters ! did not last night's convulsion warn ye ? Alas ! how will 
ye meet the Last Day !" 

The crowd that heard these boding words gave them different 
interpretations, according to their different shades of ignorance 
and of fear ; all, however, concurred in imagining them to con- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 137 

vey some awful imprecation. They regarded the Christian as 
the enemy of mankind ; the epithets they lavished upon him, of 
which ' ' Atheist " was the most favoured and frequent, may 
serve, perhaps, to warn us, believers of that same creed now 
triumphant, how we indulge the persecution of opinion Olinthus 
then underwent, and how we apply to those whose notions differ 
from our own, the terms, at that day prodigalised on the fathers 
of our faith. 

As Olinthus stalked through the crowd, and gained one of the 
more private places of egress from the forum, he perceived gazing 
upon him a pale .and earnest countenance, which he was not slow 
to recognise. 

Wrapped in a pallium, that partially concealed his sacred 
robes, the young Apaecides surveyed the disciples of that new 
and mysterious creed, to which at one time he had been half a 
convert. 

" Is he, too, an impostor? Does this man, so plain and simple 
in life, garb, in mien, does he too, like Arbaces, moke austerity the 
robe of the sensualist? Does the veil of Vesta hide the vices of 
the prostitute?" 

Olinthus, accustomed to men of all classes, and combining with 
the enthusiasm of his faith a profound experience of his kind, 
guessed, perhaps by the index of the countenance, something of 
what passed within the breast of the priest. He met the survey 
of Apascides with a steady eye, and a brow of serene and open 
candour. 

" Peace be with thee!" said he, saluting Apoecides. 

" Peace!" echoed the priest, in so hollow a tone, that it went 
at once to the heart of the Nazarene. 

"In that wish," continued Olinthus, "all good things are 
combined ; without virtue thou canst not have peace. Like the 
rainbow, peace rests upon the earth, but its arch is lost in heaven. 
Heaven bathes it in hues of light, it springs up amidst tears and 
clouds, it is a reflection of the Eternal Sun, it is an assurance of 
calm, it is the sign of a great covenant between Man and God. 
Such peace, O young man ! is the smile of the soul : it is an 
emanation from the distant orb of immortal light. PEACE be 
with you." 

"Alas! "began Apascides, when he caught the gaze of the 
curious loiterers, inquisitive to know what could possibly be 
the theme of conversation between a reputed Nazarene and a 
priest of Isis. He stopped short, and then added, in a low tone, 
" We cannot converse here, I will follow thee to the banks of the 
river ; there is a walk which at this time is usually deserted and 
solitary." 



138 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Olinthus bowed assent. He passed through the streets with a 
hasty step, but a quick and observant eye. Every now and then 
he exchanged a significant glance, a slight sign, with some pas- 
senger, whose garb usually betokened the wearer to belong to 
the humbler classes. For Christianity was in this the type of 
all other and less mighty revolutions, the grain of mustard 
seed was in the hearts of the lowly. Amidst the huts of poverty 
and labour, the vast stream, which afterwards poured its broad 
waters beside the cities and palaces of earth, took its neglected 
source. 

CHAPTER II. 

THE NOONDAY EXCURSION ON THE CAMPANIAN SEAS. 

BUT tell me, Glaucus," said lone, as they glided down the 
rippling Sarnus in their boat of pleasure, "how earnest thou 
with Apsecides to my rescue from that bad man?" 

" Ask Nydia yonder," answered the Athenian, pointing to the 
blind girl, who sat at a little distance from them, leaning pen- 
sively over her lyre. "She must have thy thanks, not we. It 
seems that she came to my house, and finding me from home, 
sought thy brother in his temple ; he accompanied her to Ar- 
baces ; on their way, they encountered me with a company of 
friends whom thy kind letter gave me a spirit cheerful enough to 
join. Her quick ear detected my voice ; a few words sufficed 
to make me the companion of Apsecides ; I told not my asso- 
ciates why I left them ; could I trust thy name to their light 
tongues and gossiping opinion? Nydia led us to the garden 
gate, by which we afterwards bore thee ; we entered, and were 
about to plunge into the mysteries of that evil house, when 
we heard thy cry in another direction. Thou knowest the 
rest!" 

lone blushed deeply. She then raised her eyes to those of 
Glaucus, and he felt all the thanks he could not utter. " Come 
hither, my Nydia," said she tenderly to the Thessalian. " Did 
I not tell thee thou shouldst be my sister and friend ? Hast thou 
not already been more my guardian, my preserver !" 

" It is nothing," answered Nydia, coldly, and without stirring. 

"Ah! I forgot," continued lone, "I should come to thee ;" 
and she moved along the benches till she reached the place where 
Nydia sat, and, flinging her arms carelessly round her, covered 
her cheeks with kisses. 

Nydia was that morning paler than her wont, and her counten- 
ance grew even more wan and colourless as she submitted to the 
embrace of the beautiful Neapolitan. ' ' But how earnest thou, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 139 

Nydia," whispered lone, " to surmise so faithfully the danger I 
was exposed to? Didst thou know aught of the Egyptian?" 

" Yes, I knew of his vices." 

" And how?" 

" Noble lone, I have been a slave to the vicious ; those whom 
I served were his minions." 

"And thou hast entered his house, since thou knewest so well 
that private entrance?" 

" I have played on my lyre to Arbaces," answered the Thessa- 
lian, with embarrassment. 

' ' And thou hast escaped the contagion from which thou hast 
saved lone?" returned the Neapolitan, in a voice too low for the 
ear of Glaucus. 

" Noble lone, I have neither beauty nor station ; I am a child, 
and a slave, and blind. The despicable are ever safe." 

It was with a pained, and proud, and indignant tone that Nydia 
made this humble reply ; and lone felt that she only wounded 
Nydia by pursuing the subject. She remained silent and the 
barque now floated into the sea. 

" Confess that I was right, lone," said Glaucus, " in prevailing 
on thee not to waste this beautiful noon in thy chamber ; confess 
that I was right." 

" Thou wert right, Glaucus," said Nydia, abruptly. 

"The dear child speaks for thee," returned the Athenian. 
" But permit me to move opposite to thee, or our light boat will 
be overbalanced." 

So saying, he took his seat exactly opposite to lone, and, lean- 
ing forward, he fancied that it was her breath, and not the winds 
of summer, that flung fragrance over the sea. 

" Thou wert to tell me," said Glaucus, "why for so many days 
thy door was closed to me?" 

" Oh, think of it no more !" answered lone, quickly ; " I gave 
my ear to what I now know was the malice of slander." 

"And my slanderer was the Egyptian?" 

lone's silence assented to the question. 

" His motives are sufficiently obvious." 

"Talk not of him," said lone, covering her face with her hands, 
as if to shut out his very thought. 

" Perhaps he may be already by the banks of the slow Styx," 
resumed Glaucus ; ' ' yet in that case we should probably have 
heard of his death. Thy brother, methinks, hath felt the dark 
influence of his gloomy soul. When we arrived last night at thy 
house, he left me abruptly. Will he ever vouchsafe to be my 
friend?" 

" He is consumed with some secret care," answered lone, tear- 



140 THE LAST DAYS OB POMPEII. 

fully. " Would that we could lure him from himself! Let us 
join in that tender office. " 

" He shall be my brother," returned the Greek. 

"How calmly,'' said lone, rousing herself from the gloom 
into which her thoughts of Apsecides had plunged her, " how 
calmly the clouds seem to repose in heaven ; and yet you tell 
me, for I knew it not, myself, that the earth shook beneath us 
last night." 

" It did, and more violently, they say, than it has done since 
the great convulsion sixteen years ago ; the land we live in yet 
nurses mysterious terror, and the region of Pluto, which spreads 
beneath our burning fields, seems rent with unseen commotion. 
Didst thou not feel the earthquake, Nydia, where thou wert seat- 
ed last night ; and was it not the fear it occasioned thee that 
made thee weep?" 

" I felt the soil creep and heave beneath me like some monstrous 
serpent," answered Nydia ; " but as I saw nothing I did not fear. 
I imagined the convulsion to be a spell of the Egyptian's. They 
say he has power over the elements." 

"Thou art a Thessalian, my Nydia," replied Glaucus, "and 
hast a national right to believe in magic." 

"Magic! who doubts it?" answered Nydia, simply; "dost 
thou ?" 

" Until last night, when a necromantic prodigy did indeed 
appal me, me thinks I was not credulous in any other magic save 
that of love !" said Glaucus, in a tremulous voice, and fixing his 
eyes on lone. 

"Ah !" said Nydia, with a sort of shiver, and she woke me- 
chanically a few pleasing notes from her lyre ; the sound suited 
well the tranquility of the waters and the sunny stillness of the 
noon. 

" Play to us, dear Nydia," said Glaucus ; " play, and give us 
one of thine old Thessalian songs, whether it be of magic or not, 
as thou wilt ; let it, at least, be of love !" 

" Of love !" repeated Nydia, raising her large, wandering eyes, 
that ever thrilled those who saw them with a mingled fear 
and pity ; you could never familiarise yourself to their aspect ; 
so strange did it seem that those dark wild orbs were ig- 
norant of the day ; and either so fixed was their deep, mysterious 
gaze, or so restless and perturbed their glance, that you felt, 
when you encountered them, that same vague, and chilling, and 
half-preternatural impression which comes over you in the 
presence of the insane ; of those who, having a life outwardly 
like your own, have a life within life dissimilar, unsearchable, 
unguessed I 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 141 

"Will you that I should sing of love?" said she, fixing those 
eyes upon Glaucus. 

" Yes 1" replied he, looking down. 

She moved a little way from the arm of lone, still cast round 
her, as if that soft embrace embarrassed, and, placing her light 
and graceful instrument on her knee, after a short prelude, she 
sang the following strain : 

NYDIA'S LOVE-SONG. 
The wind and the beam loved the rose, 

And the rose loved one ; 
For who recks the wind where it blows ? 

Or loves not the sun ? 
None knew whence the humble wind stole. 

Poor sport of the skies : 
None dreamt that the wind had a soul, 

In its mournful sighs! 
Oh ! happy beam, how canst thou prove 

That bright love of thine ? 
In thy light is the proof of thy love, 

Thou hast but to shine ! 
How its love can the wind reveal ? 

Unwelcome its sigh ; 
Mute mute to its rose let it steal 

Its proof is to die ! 

"Thou singest but sadly, sweet girl," said Glaucus; "thy 
youth only feels as yet the dark shadow of love ; far other in- 
spiration doth he wake, when he himself bursts and brightens 
upon us." 

" I sing as I was taught," replied Nydia, sighing. 

" Thy master was love-crossed, then ; try thy hand at a gayei 
air. Nay, girl, give the instrument to me." As Nydia obeyed, 
her hand touched his, and, with that slight touch her breast 
heaved her cheek flushed. lone and Glaucus, occupied with 
each other, perceived not those signs of strange and premature 
emotions, which preyed upon a heart that, nourished by imagina- 
tion, dispensed with hope. 

And now, broad, blue, bright before them, spread that halcyon 
sea, fair as at this moment, seventeen centuries from that date, I 
behold it rippling on the same divinest shores. Clime, that yet 
enervates with a soft and Circean spell ; that moulds us insensibly, 
mysteriously into harmony with thyself, banishing the thought of 
austerer labour, the voices of wild ambition, the contests and the 
roar of life ; filling us with gentle and subduing dreams, making 
necessary to our nature that which is its least earthly portion, so 
that the very air inspires us with the yearning and the thirst of 
love ! Whoever visits thee, seems to leave earth and its harsh 
cares behind, to enter by the ivory gate into the land of dreams. 



142 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

The young and laughing hours of the PRESENT ; the hours, 
those children of Saturn, which he hungers ever to devour, 
seemed snatched from his grasp. The past, the future, are for- 
gotten ; we enjoy but the breathing time. Flower of the world's 
garden ! fountain of delight ! Italy of Italy ! beautiful, benign 
Campania ! vain were, indeed, the Titans, if, on this spot, they 
yet struggled for another heaven ! Here, if God meant this 
working-day life for perpetual holiday, who would not sigh to 
dwell for ever, asking nothing, hoping nothing, fearing nothing, 
while thy skies shone over him ; while thy seas sparkled at his 
feet ; while thine air brought him sweet messages from the violet 
and the orange ; and while the heart, resigned to beating with 
but one emotion, could find the lips and the eyes, that flatter it 
(vanity of vanities !) that love can defy custom, and be eternal? 

It was then in this clime on those seas, that the Athenian 
gazed upon a face that might have suited a nymph the spirit of 
the place ; feeding his eyes on the changeful roses of that softest 
cheek, happy beyond the happiness of common life, loving, and 
knowing himself beloved. 

In the tale of human passion, in past ages, there is something 
of interest even in the remoteness of the time. We love to feel 
within us the bond which unites the most distant eras men, 
nations, customs, perish 4 THE AFFECTIONS ARE IMMORTAL! 
they are the sympathies which unite the ceaseless generations. 
The past lives again, when we look upon its emotions, it lives 
in our own ! That which was, ever is ! The magician's gift, 
that revives the dead that animates the dust of forgotten 
graves, is not in the author's skill it is in the heart of the 
reader ! 

Still vainly seeking the eyes of lone, as half downcast, half 
averted, they shunned his own, the Athenian, in a low and soft 
voice, thus expressed the feelings inspired by happier thoughts 
than those which had coloured the songs of Nydia : 

THE SONG OF GLATTCTJS. 

As the barque floateth on o'er the summer-lit sea, 
Floats my heart o'er the deep of its passion for thee ; 
All lost in the space, without terror it glides, 
For, bright with thy soul is the face of the tides. 
Now heaving, now hush'd, is that passionate ocean 

As it catches thy smile, or thy sighs ; 
And the twin-stars " that shine on the wanderer's devotion, 

Its guide and its god are thine eyes ! 

The barque may go down, should the cloud sweep above, 
For its being is bound to the light of thy love. 



' In allusion to the Dioscuri, or twin stars, the guardian deity of seamen. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 143 

As thy faith and thy smile are its life and its joy, 

So thy frown or thy change are the storms that destroy. 

Ah ! sweeter to think while the sky is serene, 

If time hath a change for thy heart ! 
If to live be to weep over what thou hast been, 

Let me die while I know what thou art ! 

As the last words of the song trembled over the sea, lone 
raised her looks ; they met those of her lover. Happy Nydia ! 
happy in thy affliction, that thou couldst not see that fascinated 
and charmed gaze, that said so much ; that made the eye, the 
voice of the soul ; that promised the impossibility of change ! 

But, though the Thessalian could not detect that gaze, she 
divined its meaning by their silence by their sighs. She pressed 
her hands tightly across her breast, as if to keep down its bitter 
and jealous thoughts ; and then she hastened to speak, for that 
silence was intolerable to her. 

' ' After all, O Glaucus !" said she, ' ' there is nothing very mirth- 
ful in your strain?" 

" Yet I meant it to be so, when I took up thy lyre, pretty one. 
Perhaps happiness will not permit us to be mirthful." 

" How strange is it!" said lone, changing a conversation that 
oppressed her while it charmed ; ' ' that for the last several days 
yonder cloud has hung motionless over Vesuvius, yet not in- 
deed motionless, for sometimes it changes its form ; and now, 
methinks it looks like some vast giant, with an arm outstretched 
over the city. Dost thou see the likeness, or is it only to my 
fancy?" 

"Fair lone! I see it also. It is astonishingly distinct. The 
giant seems seated on the brow of the mountain, the different 
shades of the cloud body forth a white and sweeping robe over 
its vast breast and limbs. It seems to gaze with a steady face 
upon the city below, to point with one hand as thou sayest, over 
its glittering streets, and to raise the other dost thou note it ? 
towards the higher heaven. It is like the ghost of some huge 
Titan brooding over the beautiful world he lost, sorrowful for 
the past, yet with something of menace for the future." 

"Could that mountain have any connection with the last night's 
earthquake? They say that, ages ago, almost in the earliest era 
of tradition, it gave forth fires at .ZEtna still. Perhaps the flames 
yet lurk and dart beneath." 

" It is impossible," said Glaucus, musingly. 

" Thou sayest thou art slow to believe in magic?" said Nydia, 
suddenly. ' ' I have heard that a potent witch dwells amongst the 
scorched caverns of the mountain, and yon cloud may be the dim 
shadow of the demon she confers with." 



144 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Thou art full of the romance of thy native Thessaly," said 
Glaucus, ' ' and a strange mixture of sense and all conflicting 
superstitions." 

" We are ever superstitious in the dark," replied Nydia. " Tell 
me," she added, after a slight pause, " tell me, O Glaucus, do all 
that are beautiful resemble each other? They say you are beauti- 
ful, and lone also. Are your faces, then, the same? I fancy not, 
yet it ought to be so." 

" Fancy no such grievous wrong to lone," answered Glaucus, 
laughing. " But we do not, alas! resemble each other, as the 
homely and beautiful sometimes do. lone's hair is dark, mine 
light. lone's are what colour, lone? I cannot see; turn 
them to me. O, are they black ? No, they are too soft. Are 
they blue? No, they are too deep ; they change with every ray 
of the sun. I know not their colour. But mine, sweet Nydia, 
are grey, and bright only when lone shines on them, lone's 
cheek is " 

" I do not understand one word of thy description," interrupted 
Nydia, peevishly. " I comprehend only that you do not resemble 
each other, and I am glad of it." 

" Why Nydia?" said lone. 

Nydia coloured slightly. " Because," she replied coldly, " I 
have always imagined you under different forms, and one likes 
to know one is right." 

"And what hast thou imagined Glaucus to resemble?" asked 
lone, softly. 

" Music!" replied Nydia, looking down. 

" Thou art right," thought lone. 

" And what likeness hast thou ascribed to lone?" 

"I cannot tell yet," answered the blind girl; " I have not 
yet known her long enough to find a shape and sign for my 
guesses." 

" I will tell thee, then," said Glaucus, passionately. " She is 
like the sun that warms ; like the wave that refreshes." 

"The sun sometimes scorches, and the wave sometimes 
drowns," answered Nydia. 

" Take, then, these roses," said Glaucus. " Let their fragrance 
suggest to thee lone." 

"Alas! the roses will fade !" said the Neapolitan, archly. 

Thus conversing, they wore away the hours, the lovers con- 
scious only of the brightness and smiles of love ; the blind girl 
feeling only its darkness, its tortures, the fierceness of jealousy 
and its woe ! 

And now, as they drifted on, Glaucus once more resumed the 
lyre, and woke its strings with a careless hand to a strain so 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 145 

wildly and gladly beautiful, that even Nydia was aroused from 
her reverie, and uttered a cry of admiration. 

"Thou seest, my child," cried Glaucus, "that I can yet re- 
deem the character of love's music, and that I was wrong in say- 
ing happiness could not be gay. Listen, Nydia ! Listen, dear 
lone, and hear 

THE BIRTH OF LOVE.* 

Like a star in the seas above, 
Like a dream in the waves of sleep, 

tip, up THE INCAKNATE LOVE 

She rose from the charmed deep ! 
And over the Cyprian Isle 
The skies shed their silent smile ; 
And the forest's green heart was rife 
With the stir of the gushing life 
The life that had leap'd to birth, 
In the veins of the happy earth ! 
Hail! oh, hail! 
The dimmest sea-cave below thee. 

The farthest sky-arch above, 
In their innermost stillness know thee, 

Hurrah ! for the Birth of Love ! 

Gale! soft gale! 
Thou com'st on thy silver ringlets, 

From thy home in the tender west ;+ 
Now fanning her golden ringlets, 

Now hushed on her heaving breast. 
And afar on the murmuring sand, 
The Seasons wait, hand in hand, 
To welcome thee, Birth Divine, 
To the earth, which is henceforth thine. 

Behold ! how she kneels in the shell, 
Bright pearl in its floating cell ! 
Behold 1 how the shell's rose hues, 

The cheek and the breast of snow, 
And the delicate limbs suffuse, 

. Like a blush, with a bashful glow. 
Sailing on, slowly sailing 

O'er the wild water ; 
All hail ! as the fond light is hailing:, 
Her daughter, 

All hail! 

We are thine, all thine evermore : 
Not a leaf on the laughing shore, 
Not a wave on the heaving sea, 
Nor a single sigh 
In the boundless sky, 
But is vowed ever more to thee ! 

Suggested by a picture of Venus rising from the sea, taken from Pom- 
peii, and now in the Museum at Naples. 

+ According to the ancient mythologists, Venus rose from the sea near 
Cyprus, to which island she was wafted by the zephyrs. The Seasons waited 
to welcome her on the sea shore. 

J 



146 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

And thou, my beloved one, thon, 
As I Kaze on thy soft eyes now, 
Methinks from their depths I view 
The holy birth born anew ; 
Thy lids are the gentle cell 

Where the young love blushing lies; 
See ! she breaks from the mystic shell. 

She comes from thy tender eyes I 

Hail! all hail! 

She comes, as she came from the sea, 
To my soul as it looks on thee ; 

She comes, she comes ! 
She comes.as she came from the sea, 
To my souf as it looks on thee ! 
Hail! all hail! 

CHAPTER III. THE CONGREGATION. 

FOLLOWED by Apsecides, the Nazarene gained the side of 
the Sarnus. That river, which now has shrunk into a petty 
stream, then rushed gaily into the sea, covered with countless 
vessels, and reflecting on its waves the gardens, the vines, the 
palaces, and the temples of Pompeii. From its more noisy and 
frequented banks, Olinthus directed his steps to a path which ran 
amidst a shady vista of trees, at the distance of a few paces from 
the river. This walk was, in the evening, a favourite resort of 
the Pompeians, but during the heat and business of the day was 
seldom visited, save by some groups of playful children, some 
meditative poet, or some disputative philosophers. At the side 
farthest from the river, frequent copses of box interspersed the 
more delicate and evanescent foliage, and these were cut into a 
thousand quaint shapes, sometimes into the forms of fauns and 
satyrs, sometimes into the mimicry of Egyptian pyramids, some- 
times into the letters that composed the name of a popular or 
eminent citizen. Thus the false taste is equally ancient as the 
pure ; and the retired traders of Hackney and Paddington, a cen- 
tury ago, were little aware, perhaps, that in their tortured yews 
and sculptured box, they found their models in the most polished 
period of Roman antiquity, in the gardens of Pompeii, and the 
villas of the fastidious Pliny. 

This walk now, as the noon-day sun shone perpendicularly 
through the chequered leaves, was entirely deserted ; at least no 
other forms than those of Olinthus and the priest infringed upon 
the solitude. They sat themselves on one of the benches, 
placed at intervals between the trees, and facing the faint 
breeze that came languidly from the river, whose waves danced 
and sparkled before them ; a singular and contrasted pair ! the 
believer in the latest, the priest of the most ancient, worship of 
the world ! 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 147 

" Since thou leftst me so abruptly," said Olinthus, " hast thou 
been happy? hast thy heart found contentment under these 
priestly robes? hast thou, still yearning for the voice of God, 
heard it whisper comfort to thee from the oracles of Isis? That 
sigh, that averted countenance, give me the answer my soul 
predicted." 

" Alas ! " answered Apaecides, sadly, " thou seest before thee a 
wretched and distracted man ! From my childhood upward I 
have idolised the dreams of virtue ; I have envied the holiness of 
men who, in caves and lonely temples, have been admitted to 
the companionship of beings above the world ; my days have 
been consumed with feverish and vague desires ; my nights 
with mocking but solemn visions. Seduced by the mystic 
prophecies of an impostor, I have indued these robes; my 
nature I confess it to thee frankly my nature has revolted 
at what 1 have seen and been doomed to share in. Searching 
after truth, I have become but the minister of falsehoods. On 
the evening in which we last met, I was buoyed by hopes created 
by that same impostor, whom I ought already to have better 
known. I have no matter no matter ! suffice it, I have added 
perjury and sin to rashness and to sorrow. The veil is now rent 
for ever from my eyes ; I behold a villain where I obeyed a demi- 
god ; the earth darkens in my sight ; I am in the deepest abyss 
of gloom ; I know not if there be gods above, if we are the 
things of chance ; if beyond the bounded and melancholy 
present, there is annihilation or an hereafter tell me, then, 
thy faith ; solve me these doubts, if thou hast indeed the power?" 

" I do not marvel," answered the Nazarene, " that thou hast 
thus erred, or that thou art thus sceptic. Eighty years ago, there 
was no assurance to man of God, or of a certain and definite 
future beyond the grave. New laws are declared to him who has 
ears ; a heaven, a true Olympus, is revealed to him who has eyes 
heed, then, and listen." 

And with all the earnestness of a man believing ardently him- 
self, and zealous to convert, the Nazarene poured forth to Apae- 
cides the assurances of scriptural promise. He spoke first of the 
sufferings and miracles of Christ he wept as he spoke : he turned 
next to the glories of the Saviour's ascension to the clear predic- 
tions of Revelation. He described that pure and unsensual 
Heaven destined to the virtuous those fires and torments that 
were the doom of guilt. 

The doubts which spring up to the mind of later reasoners, in 
the immensity of the sacrifice of God to man, were not such as 
would occur to an early heathen. He had been accustomed to 
believe that the gods had lived upon earth, and taken upon them- 



148 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

selves the forms of men ; had shared in human passions, in hu- 
man labours, and in human misfortunes. What was the travail 
of his own Alcmaena's son, whose altars now smoked with the 
incense of countless cities, but a toil for the human race? Had 
not the great Dorian Apollo expiated a mystic sin by descending to 
the grave ? Those who were the deities of heaven had been the 
lawgivers or benefactors on earth, and gratitude had led to wor- 
ship. It seemed, therefore, to the heathen, a doctrine neither 
new nor strange, that Christ had been sent from heaven, that an 
immortal had indued mortality, and tasted the bitterness of death : 
and the end for which He thus toiled, and thus suffered how 
far more glorious did it seem to Apaecides than that for which the 
deities of old had visited the nether world, and passed through 
the gates of death ! Was it not worthy of a God to descend to 
these dim valleys, in order to clear up the clouds gathered over 
the dark mount beyond ; to satisfy the doubts of sages ; to con- 
vert speculation into certainty ; by example to point out the rules 
of life ; by revelation to solve the enigma of the grave ; and to 
prove that the soul did not yearn in vain when it dreamed of an 
immortality? In this last was the great argument of those lowly 
men destined to convert the earth. As nothing is more flattering 
to the pride and the hopes of man than the belief in a future 
state, so nothing could be more vague and confused than the 
notions of the heathen sages upon that mystic subject. Apae- 
cides had already learned that the faith of the philosophers was 
not that of the herd ; that if they secretly professed a creed in 
some diviner power, it was not the creed which they thought it 
wise to impart to the community. He had already learned, that 
even the priest ridiculed what he preached to the people that 
the notions of the few and the many were never united. But, in 
this new faith, it seemed to him that philosopher, priest, and 
people, the expounders of the religion and its followers, were alike 
accordant ; they did not speculate and debate upon immortality, 
they spake of it as a thing certain and assured ; the magnificence 
of the promise dazzled him its consolations soothed. For the 
Christian faith made its early converts among sinners 1 many of 
its fathers and its martyrs were those who had felt the bitterness 
of vice, and who were therefore no longer tempted by its false 
aspect from the paths of an austere and uncompromising virtue. 
All the assurances of this healing faith invited to repentance 
they were peculiarly adapted to the bruised and sore of spirit ; 
the very remorse which Aptecides felt for his late excesses, 
made him incline to one who found holiness in that remorse, 
and who whispered of the joy in heaven over one sinner that 
repenteth. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 149 

" Come," said the Nazarene, as he perceived the effect he had 
produced, " come to the humble hall in which we meet, a select 
and a chosen few ; listen there to our prayers ; note the sincerity 
of our repentant tears ; mingle in our simple sacrifice, not of 
victims, nor of garlands, but offered by white-robed thoughts 
upon the altar of the heart ; the flowers that we lay there are 
imperishable, they bloom over us when we are no more ; nay, 
they accompany us beyond the grave, they spring up beneath 
our feet in heaven, they delight us with an eternal odour, for 
they are of the soul, they partake its nature ; these offerings are 
temptations overcome, and sins repented. Come, oh, come ! 
lose not another moment ; prepare already for the great, the 
awful journey, from darkness to light, from sorrow to bliss 
from corruption to immortality ! This is the day of the Lord 
the Son, a day that we have set apart for our devotions. Though 
we meet usually at night, yet some amongst us are gathered to- 
gether even now. , What joy, what triumph, will be with us, if 
we can bring one stray lamb into the sacred fold !" 

There seemed to Apaecides, so naturally pure of heart, some- 
thing ineffably generous and benign in that spirit of conversion 
which animated Olinthus, a spirit that found its own bliss in the 
happiness of others, that sought in its wide sociality to make 
companions for eternity. He was touched, softened', and sub- 
dued. He was not in that mood which can bear to be left 
alone ; curiosity, too, mingled with his purer stimulants he was 
anxious to see those rites of which so many dark and contra- 
dictory rumours were afloat. He paused a moment, looked over 
his garb, thought of Arbaces, shuddered with horror, lifted his 
eyes to the broad brow of the Nazarene, intent, anxious, watch- 
ful, but for his benefit, for his salvation ! He drew his cloak 
round him, so as wholly to conceal his robes, and said, " Lead 
on, I follow thee." 

Olinthus pressed his hand joyfully, and then descending to the 
river-side, hailed one of the boats that plyed there constantly ; they 
entered it an awning overhead, while it sheltered them from the 
sun, screened also their persons from observation : they rapidly 
. skimmed the wave. From one of the boats that passed them 
floated a soft music, and its prow was decorated with flowers, it 
was gliding towards the sea. 

" So," said Olinthus, sadly, "unconscious and mirthful in their 
delusions, sail the votaries of luxury into the great ocean of storm 
and shipwreck ; we pass them, silent and unnoticed, to gain the 
land." 

Apaecides, lifting his eyes, caught, through the aperture in the 
awning, a glimpse of the face of one of the inmates of that gay 



ISO THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

barque, it was the face of lone. The lovers were embarked on 
the excursion to which we have been made present. The priest 
sighed and once more sunk back upon his seat. They reached 
the shore, where in the suburbs, an alley of small and mean 
houses stretched towards the bank ; they dismissed the boat, 
landed, and Olinthus, preceding the priest, threaded the laby- 
rinth of lanes, and arrived at last at the closed door of a habita- 
tion somewhat larger than its neighbours. He knocked thrice, 
the door was opened and closed again, as Apsecides followed his 
guide across the threshold. They passed a deserted atrium, and 
gained an inner chamber of moderate size, which, when the door 
was closed, received its only light from a small window cut over 
the door itself. But, halting at the threshold of this chamber, 
and knocking at the door, Olinthus said, " Peace be with you ! " 
A voice from within returned, "Peace with whom?" "The 
faithful I" answered Olinthus, and the door opened : twelve or 
fourteen persons were sitting in a semi-circle, silent, and seem- 
ingly absorbed in thought, and opposite to a crucifix rudely carved 
in wood. 

They lifted up their eyes when Olinthus entered, without speak- 
ing ; the Nazarene himself, before he accosted them, knelt sud- 
denly down, and by his moving lips, and his eyes fixed 
steadfastly on the crucifix, Apaecides saw that he prayed inly. 
This rite performed, Olinthus turned to the congregation : 
"Men and brethren," said he, "start not to behold amongst 
you a priest of Isis ; he hath sojourned with the blind, but the 
Spirit hath fallen on him he desires to see, to hear, and to 
understand." 

" Let him," said one of the assembly ; and Apascides beheld 
in the speaker a man still younger than himself, of a countenance 
equally worn and pallid, of an eye which equally spoke of the 
restless and fiery operations of a working mind. 

" Let him," repeated a second voice ; and he who thus spoke 
was in the prime of manhood ; his bronzed skin and Asiatic 
features bespoke him a son of Syria : he had been a robber in his 
youth. 

" Let him," said a third voice ; and the priest again turning to 
regard the speaker, saw an old man with a long grey beard whom 
he recognised as a slave to the wealthy Diomed. 

" Let him," repeated simultaneously the rest, men who with 
two exceptions, were evidently of the inferior rank. In these 
exceptions, Apaecides noted an officer of the guard, and an Alex- 
andrian merchant. 

" We do not," recommenced Olinthus " we do not bind you 
to secrecy ; we impose on you no oaths (as some of our weaker 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 151 

brethren would do) not to betray us. It is trae, indeed, that 
there is no absolute law against us ; but the multitude, more 
savage than their rulers, thirst for our lives. So, my friends, when 
Pilate would have hesitated, it was the people who shouted, ' Christ 
to the cross !' But we bind you not to our safety, no ! Betray us 
to the crowd, impeach, calumniate, malign us if you will. We 
are above death, we should walk cheerfully to the den of the lion, 
or the rack of the torturer ; we can trample down the darkness of 
the grave, and what is death to a criminal is eternity to the 
Christian." 

A low and applauding murmur ran through the assembly. 

" Thou comest amongst us an examiner, mayest thou remain 
a convert ! Our religion ? you behold it ! Yon cross our sole 
image, yon scroll the mysteries of our Caere and Eleusis ! Our 
morality? it is in our lives ; sinners we all have been ; who now 
can accuse us of a crime ? we have baptised ourselves from the 
past. Think not that this is of us, it is of God. Approach, 
Medon," beckoning to the old slave who had spoken third for the 
admission of Apaecides, " thou art the sole man amongst us who 
is not free. But in heaven the last shall be first : so with us. 
Unfold your scroll, read, and explain." 

Useless would it be for us to accompany the lecture of Medon, 
or the comments of the congregation. Familiar now are those 
doctrines than strange and new. Eighteen centuries have left 
us little to expound upon the lore of scripture or the life of 
Christ. To us, too, there would seem little congenial in the 
doubts that occurred to a heathen priest, and little learned in the 
answers they received from men, uneducated, rude, and simple, 
possessing only the knowledge that they were greater than they 
seemed. 

There was one thing that greatly touched the Neapolitan. 
When the lecture was concluded, they heard a very gentle knock 
at the door. The password was given and replied to. The 
door opened, and two young children, the eldest of whom might 
have told its seventh year, entered timidly. They were the 
children of the master of the house, that dark and hardy Syrian, 
whose youth had been spent in pillage and bloodshed. The 
eldest of the congregation it was that old slave opened to 
them his arms. They fled to shelter ; they crept to his breast, 
and his hard features smiled as he caressed them. And then 
these bold and fervent men, nursed in vicissitude, beaten by the 
rough winds of life ; men of mailed and impervious fortitude, 
ready to affront a world, prepared for torment and armed for 
death ; men who presented all imaginable contrast to the weak 
nerves, the light hearts, the tender fragility of childhood ; crowd- 



152 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ed round the infants, smoothing their nigged brows, and com- 
posing their bearded lips to kindly and fostering smiles. And 
then the old man opened the scroll, and he taught the infants to 
repeat after him that beautiful prayer which we still dedicate to 
the Lord, and still teach to our children. And then he told 
them, in simple phrase, of God's love to the young, and now not 
a sparrow falls but His eye sees it. This lovely custom of infant 
initiation was long cherished by the early Church, in memory of 
the words which said : " Suffer little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not ;'' and was, perhaps, the origin of the super- 
stitious calumny which ascribed to the Nazarenes the crime which 
the Nazarene, when victorious, attributed to the Jew viz., the 
decoying children to hideous rites, at which they were secretly 
immolated. 

And the stern paternal penitent seemed to feel in the innocence 
of his children a return into early life ; life ere yet it sinned. He 
followed the motion of their young lips with an earnest gaze. He 
smiled as they repeated, with hushed and reverent looks, the holy 
words. And when the lesson was done, and they ran, released, 
and gladly to his knee, he clasped them to his breast, kissed them 
again and again, and tears flowed fast down his cheeks ; tears of 
which it would have been impossible to trace the source, so 
mingled they were with joy and sorrow, penitence and hope, re- 
morse for himself and love for them ! 

Something, I say, there was in this scene which peculiarly affect- 
ed Apascides. And, in truth, it is difficult to conceive a ceremony 
more appropriate to the religion of benevolence, more appealing 
to the household and every-day affections, striking a more sensi- 
tive chord in the human breast. 

It was at this time that an inner door opened gently, and a very 
old man entered the chamber, leaning on a staff. At his presence 
the whole congregation rose. There was an expression of deep 
affectionate respect upon every countenance ; and Apaecides gaz- 
ing on his countenance, felt attracted towards him by an irre- 
sistible sympathy. No man ever looked upon that face without 
love ; for there had dwelt the smile of the Deity, the incarnation 
of divinest love, and the glory of the smile had never passed 
away ! 

" My children, God be with you ! " said the old man, stretch- 
ing his arms ; and, as he spoke, the infants ran to his knee. He 
sat down, and they nestled fondling to his bosom. It was 
beautiful to see that mingling of the extremes of life the 
rivers gushing from their early source, the majestic stream glid- 
ing to the ocean of eternity ! As the light of declining day seems 
to mingle earth and heaven, making the outline of each scarce 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 153 

visible, and blending the harsh mountain-tops with the sky, 
even so did the smile of that benign old age appear to hallow 
the aspect of those around, to blend together the strong distinc- 
tions of varying years, and to diffuse over infancy and manhood 
the light of that heaven into which it must so soon vanish and 
be lost. 

" Father," said Olinthus, " thou on whose form the miracle 
of the Redeemer worked ; thou who wert snatched from the 
grave to become the living witness of His mercy and His power ; 
behold ! a stranger in our meeting a new lamb gathered to 
the fold!" 

" Let me bless him," said the old man. The throng gave 
way. Apsecides approached him as by an instinct : he fell on 
his knees before him. The old man laid his hand on the priest's 
head, and blessed him. but not aloud. As his lips moved, his 
eyes were upturned, and tears those tears that good men only 
shed in the hope of happiness to another flowed fast down his 
cheeks. 

The children were on either side of the convert ; his heart was 
as theirs, he had become as one of them, to enter into the king- 
dom of heaven ! 



CHAPTER IV, 

THE STREAM OF LOVE RUNS ON WHITHER? 

T^ AYS are like years in the love of the young, when no bar, no 
\_) obstacle, is between their hearts ; when the sun shines and 
the course runs smooth ; when their love is prosperous and con- 
fessed. lone no longer concealed from Glaucus the attachment 
she felt for him, and their talk now was only of their k>ve. Over 
the rapture of the present the hopes of the future glowed, like 
the heaven above the gardens of spring. They went in their 
trustful thoughts far down the stream of time : they laid out the 
chart of their destiny to come ; they suffered the light of to-day 
to suffuse the morrow. In the youth of their hearts it seemed as 
if care, and change, and death, were as things unknown. Per- 
haps they loved each other the more because the condition of the 
world left to Glaucus no aim and no wish but love ; because the 
distractions common in free states to men's affections existed not 
for the Athenian ; because his country wooed him not to the 
bustle of civil life ; because ambition furnished no counterpoise to 
love. And, therefore, over their schemes and their projects love 
only reigned. In the iron age they imagined themselves of the 
golden, doomed only to live and to love. 



154 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

To the superficial observer, who interests himself only in char- 
acters strongly marked and broadly coloured, both the lovers 
may seem of too slight and commonplace a mould : in the delinea- 
tion of characters purposely subdued, the reader sometimes 
imagines that there is a want of character ; perhaps, indeed, I 
wrong the real nature of these two lovers by not painting more 
impressively their stronger individualities. But in dwelling so 
much on their bright and bird-like existence, I am influenced 
almost insensibly by the forethought of the changes that await 
them, and for which they were so ill prepared. It was this very 
softness and gaiety of life that contrasted most strongly the vicis- 
situdes of their coming fate. For the oak without fruit or blossom, 
whose hard and rugged heart is fitted for the storm, there is less 
fear than for the delicate brances of the myrtle and the laughing 
clusters of the vine. 

They had now entered far upon August ; the next month their 
marriage was fixed, and the threshold of Glaucus was already 
wreathed with garlands ; and nightly, by the door of lone, he 
poured forth the rich libations. He existed no longer for his gay 
companions ; he was ever with lone. In the mornings they be- 
guiled the sun with music ; in the evenings they forsook the 
crowded haunts of the gay for excursions on the water, or along 
the fertile and vine-clad plains that lay beneath the fatal mount 
of Vesuvius. The earth shook no more ; the lively Pompeians 
forgot even that there had gone forth so terrible a warning of 
their approaching doom. Glaucus imagined that convulsion, in 
the vanity of his heathen religion, an especial interposition of the 
gods, less in behalf of his own safety than that of lone. He 
offered up the sacrifices of gratitude at the temples of his faith ; 
and even the altar of Isis was covered with his votive garlands. 
As to the prodigy of the animated marble, he blushed at the effect 
it had produced on him. He believed it indeed, to have been 
wrought by the magic of man ; but the result convinced him that 
it betokened not the anger of a goddess. 

Of Arbaces, they heard only that he still lived ; stretched on 
the bed of suffering, he recovered slowly from the effects of the 
shock he had sustained ; he left the lovers unmolested, but it was 
only to brood over the hour and the method of revenge. 

Alike in their mornings at the house of lone, and in their even- 
ing excursions, Nydia was usually their constant, and often their 
sole companion. They did not guess the secret fires which con- 
sumed her: the abrupt freedom with which they mingled in 
their conversation, her capricious and often her peevish moods, 
found ready indulgence in the recollection of the service they 
owed her, and their compassion for her affliction. They felt, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 155 

perhaps, the greater and more affectionate interest for her, from 
the very strangeness and waywardness of her nature, her singular 
alternations of passion and softness, the mixture of ignorance 
and genius, of delicacy and rudeness, of the quick humours of 
the child and the proud calmness of the woman. Although she 
refused to accept of freedom, she was constantly suffered to be 
free ; she went where she listed ; no curb was put either on her 
words or actions ; they felt for one so darkly fated, and so sus- 
ceptible of every wound, the same pitying and compliant in- 
dulgence the mother feels for a spoiled and sickly child, dreading 
to impose authority, even where they imagined it for her benefit. 
She availed herself of this licence by refusing the companion- 
ship of the slave whom they wished to attend her. With the 
slender staff by which she guided her steps, she went now, as 
in her former unprotected state, along the populous streets : it was 
almost miraculous to perceive how quickly and how dexterously 
she threaded every crowd, avoided every danger, and could find 
her benighted way through the most intricate windings of the 
city. But her chief delight was still in visiting the few feet of 
ground which made the garden of Glaucus in tending the 
flowers that at least repaid her love. Sometimes she entered 
the chamber where he sat, and sought a conversation, which 
she nearly always broke off abruptly ; for conversation with 
Glaucus only tended to one subject, lone, and that name 
from his lips inflicted agony upon her. O/ten she bitterly 
repented the service she had rendered to lone ; often she said 
jnly, " If she had fallen, Glaucus could have loved her no 
longer ! " and then dark and fearful thoughts crept into her 
breast. 

She had not experienced fully the trials that were in store for 
her when she had been thus generous. She had never been 
present when Glaucus and lone were together ; she had never 
heard that voice, so kind to her, so much softer to another. 
The shock that crushed her heart with the tidings that Glaucus 
loved, had at first only saddened and benumbed ; by degrees 
jealousy took a wider and fiercer shape ; it partook of hatred 
it whispered revenge. As you see the wind only agitate the 
green leaf upon the bough, while the leaf which has lain withered 
and seared on the ground, bruised and trampled upon, till the sap 
and life are gone, is suddenly whirled aloft, now here, now there, 
without stay, and without rest ; so the love which visits the hap- 
py and the hopeful hath but freshness on its wings ; its violence 
is but sportive. But the heart that hath fallen from the green 
things of life, that is without hope, that hath no summer in its 
fibres, is torn and whirled by the same wind that but caresses its. 



I5& THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

brethren ; it hath no bough to cling to, it is dashed from path 
to path, till the winds fall, and it is crushed into the mire for 
ever. 

The friendless childhood of Nydia had hardened prematurely 
her character ; perhaps the heated scenes of profligacy through 
which she had passed, seemingly unscathed, had ripened her 
passions, though they had not sullied her purity. The orgies of 
Burbo might only have disgusted, the banquets of the Egyptian 
might only have terrified, at the moment ; but, perhaps, those 
winds of pollution left seeds in the breast over which they passed 
so lightly. As darkness, too, favours the imagination, so, per- 
haps, her very blindness contributed to feed with wild and deliri- 
ous visions the love of the unfortunate girl. The voice of Glau- 
cus had been the first that had sounded musically to her ear ; his 
kindness made a deep impression upon her mind ; when he had 
left Pompeii in the former year, she had treasured up in her heart 
every word he had uttered ; and when any one told her that this 
friend and patron of the poor flower-girl was the most brilliant 
and the" most graceful of the young revellers in Pompeii, she had 
felt a pleasing pride in nursing his recollection. Even the task 
which she imposed upon herselt, of tending his flowers, served to 
keep him in her mind ; she associated him with all that was most 
charming to her impressions ; and when she had refused to ex- 
press what image she had fancied lone to resemble, it was partly, 
perhaps, that whatever was bright and soft in nature she had 
already combined with the thought of Glaucus. If any of my 
readers ever loved at an age which they would now smile to re- % 
member an age in which fancy forestalled the reason let them* 
say whether that love, among all its strange and complicated deli- 
cacies, was not above all other and latter passions susceptible of 
jealousy ? I seek not here the cause ; 1 know that it is commonly 
the fact. 

When Glaucus returned to Pompeii, Nydia had told another 
year of life ; that year, with its sorrows, its loneliness, its trials, 
had greatly developed her mind and heart ; and when the Athen- 
ian drew her unconsciously to his breast, deeming her still in soul 
as in years, a child ; when he kissed her smooth cheek, and wound 
his arm round her trembling frame, Nydia felt suddenly, and as 
by revelation, that those feelings she had long and innocently 
cherished, were of love. Doomed to be rescued from tyranny by 
Glaucus ; doomed to take shelter under his roof ; doomed to 
breathe, but for so brief a time, the same air ; and doomed, in 
the first rush of a thousand happy, grateful, delicious sentiments 
of an overflowing heart, to hear that he loved another ; to be 
commissioned to that other, the messenger, the minister ; to feel 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 157 

all at once that utter nothingness which she was, which she ever 
must be, but which, till then, her young mind had not taught her 
that utter nothingness to him who was all to her ; what wonder 
that, in her wild and passionate soul, all the elements jarred dis- 
cordant ; that if love reigned over the whole, it was not the love 
which is born of the more sacred and soft emotions? Sometimes 
she dreaded only lest Glaucus should discover her secret : some- 
times she felt indignant that it was not suspected : it was a sign 
of contempt could he imagine that she presumed so far? Her 
feelings to lone ebbed and flowed with every hour; now she 
loved her because he did ; now she hated her for the same cause. 
There were moments when she could have murdered her uncon- 
scious mistress ; moments when she could have laid down life for 
her. These fierce and tremulous alternations of passion were too 
severe to be borne long. Her health gave way, though she felt it 
not ; her cheek paled ; her step grew feebler ; tears came to her 
eyes more often, and relieved her less. 

One morning, when she repaired to her usual task in the 
garden of the Athenian, she found Glaucus under the columns 
of the peristyle, with a merchant of the town ; he was selecting 
jewels for his destined bride. He had already fitted up her apart- 
ment ; the jewels he bought that day were placed also within it 
they were never fated to grace the fair form of lone ; they may be 
seen at this day among the disinterred treasures of Pompeii, in 
the chambers of the studio at Naples.* 

' ' Come hither, Nydia ; put down thy vase, and come hither. 
. Thou must take this chain from me ; stay there I have put it 
on. There, Servilius, does it not become her?" 

" Wonderfully !" answered the jeweller for jewellers were well- 
bred and flattering men, even at that day. " But when these ear- 
rings glitter in the ears of the noble lone, then, by Bacchus ! you 
will see whether my art adds anything to beauty." 

" lone?" repeated Nydia, who had hitherto acknowledged by 
smiles and blushes the gift of Glaucus. 

" Yes," replied the Athenian, carelessly toying with the gems ; 
"I am choosing a present for lone, but there are none worthy 
of her." 

He was startled as he spoke by an abrupt gesture from Nydia ; 
she tore the chain violently from her neck, and dashed it on the 
ground. 

" How is this? What, Nydia, dost thou not like the bauble? 
art thou offended?" 

" You treat me ever as a slave and as a child," replied the 

Several bracelets, chains, and jewels, were found in the house. 



158 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Thessalian, with a breast heaving with ill-suppressed sobs, and 
she turned hastily away to the opposite corner of the garden. 

Glaucus did not attempt to follow, or to soothe ; he was offend- 
ed. He continued to examine the jewels and to comment on their 
fashion ; to object to this and to praise that, and finally to be 
talked by the merchant into buying all ; the safest plan for a lover, 
and a plan that any one will do right to adopt, provided always 
that he can obtain an lone ! 

When he had completed his purchase, and dismissed the jewel- 
ler, he retired into his chamber, dressed, mounted his chariot, and 
went to lone. He thought no more of the blind girl, or her 
offence : he had forgotten both the one and the other. 

He spent the forenoon with his beautiful Neapolitan, repaired 
thence to the baths, supped if, as we have said before, w'e can 
justly so translate the three o'clock ccena of the Romans alone, 
and abroad, for Pompeii had its restaurateurs ; and returning 
home to change his dress ere he again repaired to the house of 
lone, he passed the peristyle, but with the absorbed reverie and 
absent eyes of a man in love, and did not note the form of the 
poor blind girl, bending exactly in the same place where he had 
left her. But though he saw her not, her ear recognised at once 
the sound of his step. She had been coimting the moments to 
his return. He had scarcely entered his favourite chamber, 
which opened on the peristyle, and seated himself musingly on 
his couch, when he felt his robe timorously touched, and turn- 
ing, he beheld Nydia kneeling before him, and holding up to 
him a handful of flowers a gentle and an appropriate peace- 
offering ; her eyes, darkly upheld to his own, streamed with 
tears. 

" I have offended thee," said she, sobbing, "and for the first 
time. I would die rather than cause thee a moment's pain ; say 
that thou wilt forgive me ! See ! I have taken up the chain ; I 
have put it on ; I will never part from it it is thy gift." 

" My dear Nydia," returned Glaucus, and raising her, he 
kissed her forehead; "think of it no more! But why, my 
child wert thou so suddenly angry? I could not divine the 
cause!" 

" Do not ask," said she, colouring violently ; " I am a thing 
full of faults and humours ; you know I am but a child, you say 
so often. Is it from a child that you can expect a reason for 
every folly?" 

" But, prettiest, you will soon be a child no more ; and if you 
would have us treat you as a woman, you must learn to govern 
these singular impulses and gales of passion. Think not I chide ; 
.no, it is for your happiness only I speak." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 159 

" It is true," said Nydia, I must learn to govern myself ; I must 
hide, I must suppress, my heart. This is a woman's task and 
duty ; methinks her virtue is hypocrisy." 

" Self-control is not deceit, my Nydia," returned the Athenian; 
" and that is the virtue necessary alike to man and to woman ; 
it is the true senatorial toga, the badge of the dignity it covers." 

" Self-control, self-control ! Well, well, what you say is right ! 
When I listen to you, Glaucus, my wildest thoughts grow calm 
and sweet, and a delicious serenity falls over me. Advise, ah ! 
guide me ever, my preserver !'' 

" Thy affectionate heart will be thy best guide, Nydia, when 
thou hast learned to regulate its feelings." 

"Ah! that will be never," sighed Nydia, wiping away her 
tears. 

" Say not so, the first effort is the only difficult one." 

" I have made many first efforts," answered Nydia, innocent- 
ly. " But you, my mentor, do you find it so easy to control 
yourself? Can you conceal, can you even regulate, your love for 
lone?'' 

"Level dear Nydia: ah! that is quite another matter," an- 
swered the young preceptor. 

" I thought so!" returned Nydia, with a melancholy smile. 
" Glaucus, wilt thou take my poor flowers? Do with them as 
thou wilt ; thou canst give them to lone, if thou wilt," added she, 
with a little hesitation. 

" Nay, Nydia," answered Glaucus, kindly, divining something 
of jealousy in her language, though he imagined it only the 
jealousy of a vain and susceptible child ; " I will not give thy 
pretty flowers to any one. Sit here and weave them into a gar- 
land ; I will wear it this night : it is not the first those delicate 
fingers have woven for me." 

The poor girl delightedly sat down beside Glaucus. She drew 
from her girdle a ball of the many-coloured threads, or rather 
slender ribands, used in the weaving of garlands, and which (for 
it was her professional occupation) she carried constantly with 
her, and began quickly and gracefully to commence her task. 
Upon her young cheeks the tears were already dried, a faint but 
happy smile played round her lips ; childlike, indeed, she was 
sensible only of the joy of the present hour : she was reconciled 
to Glaucus ; he had forgiven her ; she was beside him ; he 
played caressingly with her silken hair ; his breath fanned her 
cheek ; lone, the cruel lone, was not by none other demanded, 
divided, his care. Yes, she was happy and forgetful ; it was one 
of the few moments in her brief and troubled life that it was 
sweet to treasure, to recall. As the butterfly, allured by the 



160 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

winter sun, basks for a little while in the sudden light, ere yet 
the wind awakes and the frost comes on which shall blast it be- 
fore the eve, she rested beneath a beam, which, by contrast 
with the wonted skies, was not chilling ; and the instinct which 
should have warned her of its briefness, bade her only gladden 
in its smile. 

" Thou hast beautiful locks," said Glaucus. " They were once, 
I ween well, a mother's delight." 

Nydia sighed ; it would seem that she had not been born a 
slave ; but she ever shunned the mention of her parentage, and 
whether obscure or noble, certain it is that her birth was never 
known by her benefactors, or by anyone in those distant shores, 
even to the last. The child of sorrow and of mystery, she came 
and went as some bird that enters our chamber for a moment ; 
we see it flutter while before us, we know not whence it flew or 
to what region it escapes. 

Nydia sighed, and after a short pause, without answering the 
remark, said : 

"But do I weave too many roses in thy wreath, Glaucus? 
They tell me it is thy favourite flower." 

" And ever favoured, my Nydia, be it by those who have the 
soul of poetry : it is the flower of love, of festivals : it is also the 
flower we dedicate to silence and to death ; it blooms on our 
brows in life, while life be worth the having it is scattered above 
our sepulchre when we are no more." 

"Ah 1 would," said Nydia, "instead of this perishable wreath, 
that I could take thy web from the hand of the Fates, and insert 
the roses there I" 

" Pretty one ! thy wish is worthy of a voice so attuned to song ! 
it is uttered in the spirit of song ; and, whatever my doom, I 
thank thee." 

" Whatever thy doom ! is it not already destined to all things 
bright and fair? My wish was vain. The Fates will be as tender 
to thee as I should." 

"It might not be so, Nydia, were it not for love! While 
love lasts, I may forget my country for a while. But whst 
Athenian, in his graver manhood, can think of Athens as she 
was, and be contented that he is happy, while she is fallen fallen, 
and for ever?" 

" And why for ever?" 

" As ashes cannot be rekindled as love once dead never can 
revive, as freedom departed from a people is never regained. But 
talk we not of these matters unsuited to thee." 

"To me, oh! thou errest. I too, have my sighs for Greece; 
my cradle was rocked at the foot of Olympus : the gods have left 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 161 

the mountain, but their traces maybe seen seen in the hearts of 
their worshippers, seen in the beauty of their clime : they tell me 
it is beautiful, and / have felt its airs, to which even these are 
harsh its sun, to which these skies are chill. Oh 1 talk to me of 
Greece ! Poor fool that I am, I can comprehend thee! and me- 
thinks, had I yet lingered on those shores, had I been a Grecian 
maid, whose happy fate it was to love and to be loved, I myself 
could have armed my lover for another Marathon, a new Plataea. 
Yes, the hand that now weaves the roses, should have woven thee 
the olive crown !" 

" If such a day could come ! " said Glaucus, catching the en- 
thusiasm of the blind Thessalian, and half rising. "But no! the 
sun has set, and the night only bids us to be forgetful, and in for- 
getfulness be gay ; weave still the roses I" 

But it was with a melancholy tone of forced gaiety that the 
Athenian uttered the last words ; and sinking into a gloomy 
reverie, he was only wakened from it, a few minutes afterwards 
by the voice of Nydia, as she sang in a low tone the following 
words, which he had once taught her : 

THE APOLOGY FOB PLEASURE. 

Who will assume the bays 

That the hero wore ? 
Wreaths on the tomb of days 

Gone evermore ! 
Who shall disturb the brave. 
Or one leaf on their holy grave ? 
The laurel is vowed to them, 
Leave the bay on its sacred stem ! 
But this, the rose, the fading rose, 
Alike for slave and freeman grows ! 

If Memory sit beside the dead, 

With tombs her only treasure : 
If Hope is lost and Freedom fled, 

The more excuse for Pleasure. 
Come, weave the wreath, the roses weave, 

The rose at least is ours ; 
To feeble hearts our fathers leave, 

In pitying scorn, the flowers I 

On the summit, worn and hoary, 
Of Phyle's solemn hill, 
The tramp of the brave is still ! 
And still in the saddening mart, 
The pulse of that mighty heart, 

Whose very blood was glory ! 
Glaucopis forsakes her own, 

The angry gods forget us, 
But yet, the blue streams along, 
Walk the feet of the silver Song, 
And the night-bird wakes the moon ; 
And the bees in the blushing noon 

Haunt the heart of the old Hymettus 



162 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPElt. 

We are fallen, but not forlorn, 

If something is left to cherish ; 
As love was the earliest born, 

So love is the last to perish. 

Wreathe then the roses, wreathe ! 

The Beautiful still is ours, 

While the stream shall flow, and the sky shall glow, 
The Beautiful still is om-s ! 
Whatever is fair, or soft, or bright, 
In the lap of day or the arms of night. 
Whispers our soul of Greece of Greece, 
And hushes our care with a voice of peace. 
Wreathe thenlthe roses, wreathe ! 

They tell me of earlier hours, 
And I hear the heart of my Country breathe 

From the lips of the Stranger's flowers. 

CHAPTER V. 

NYDIA ENCOUNTERS JULIA. INTERVIEW OF THE HEATHEN 
SISTER AND CONVERTED BROTHER. AN ATHENIAN'S 
NOTION OF CHRISTIANITY. 

WHAT happiness to lone ! what bliss to be ever by the 
side of Glaucus, to hear his voice ! And she too can see 
him !" 

Such was the soliloquy of the blind girl, as she walked alone 
and at twilight to the house of her new mistress, whither Glaucus 
had already preceded her. Suddenly she was interrupted in her 
fond thoughts by a female voice 

" Blind flower-girl, whither goest thou? There is no pannier 
under thine arm ; hast thou sold all thy flowers?" 

The person thus accosting Nydia was a lady of a handsome 
but a bold and unmaidenly countenance ; it was Julia, the 
daughter of Diomed. Her veil was half raised as she spoke ; 
she was accompanied by Diomed himself, and by a slave 
earring a lantern before them. The merchant and his daughter 
were returning home from a supper at one of their neighbours. 

" Dost thou not remember my voice?" continued Julia ; " I am 
the daughter of Diomed the wealthy." 

" Ah ! forgive me ; yes, I recall the tones of your voice. No, 
noble Julia, I have no flowers to sell." 

" I neard that thou wert purchased by the beautiful Greek, 
Glaucus ; is that true, pretty slave?" asked Julia. 

"I serve the Neapolitan, lone," replied Nydia, evasively. 

" Ha! and it is true then " 

" Come, come!" interrupted Diomed, with his cloak up to his 
mouth, ' ' the night grows cold ; I cannot stay here while you 
prate to that blind girl ; come, let her follow you home if you 
wish to speak to her." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 163 

" Do, child," said Julia, with the air of one not accustomed to 
be refused ; " I have much to ask of thee ; come." 

"I cannot this night, it grows late," answered Nydia. "I 
must be at home ; I am not free, noble Judith." 

" What! the meek lone will chide thee? Ay, I doubt not she 
is a second Thalestris. But come, then, to-morrow ; do remem- 
ber, I have been thy friend of old." 

"I will obey thy wishes," answered Nydia; and Diomed 
again impatiently summoned his daughter. She was obliged to 
proceed, with the main question she had desired to put to Nydia 
unasked. 

Meanwhile, we return to lone. The interval of time that had 
elapsed that day between the first and second visit of Glaucus had 
not been too gaily spent ; she had receiveda visit from her brother. 
Since the night he had assisted in saving her from the Egyptian, 
she had not before seen him. 

Occupied with his own thoughts thoughts of so serious and 
intense a nature the young priest had thought little of his sister ; 
in truth, men perhaps of that fervent order of mind which is ever 
aspiring above earth, are but little prone to the earthlier affec- 
tions ; and it had been long since Apaecides had sought those 
soft and friendly interchanges of thought, those sweet confidences, 
which in his earlier youth had bound him to lone, and which are 
so natural to that endearing connection which existed between 
them. 

lone, however, had not ceased to regret his estrangement ; she 
attributed it, at present, to the engrossing duties of his severe 
fraternity. And often, amidst all her bright hopes, and her 
new attachment to her betrothed often, when she thought of 
her brother's brow prematurely furrowed, his unsmiling lip, and 
bended frame, she sighed to think that the service of the gods 
could throw so deep a shadow over that earth which the gods 
created. 

But this day, when he visited her, there was a strange calmness 
on his features, a more quiet and self-possessed expression in his 
sunken eyes, than she had marked for years. This apparent im- 
provement was but momentary it was a false calm, which the 
least breeze could ruffle. 

" May the gods bless thee, my brother I" said she, embracing 
him. 

" The gods ! Speak not thus vaguely ; perchance there is but 
one God!" 

" My brother!" 

" What if the sublime faith of the Nazarene be true? What if 
God be a monarch One Indivisible Alone? What if these 



1 64 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

numerous, countless deities, whose altars fill the earth, be but evil 
demons, seeking to wean us from the true creed ? This may be 
the case, lone?" 

"Alas ! can we believe it? or if we believed, would it not be a 
melancholy faith?" answered the Neapolitan. " What ! all this 
beautiful world made only human the mountain disenchanted 
of its Oread the waters of their Nymph ; that beautiful pro- 
digality of faith, which makes everything divine, consecrating 
the meanest flowers, bearing celestial whispers in the faintest 
breeze wouldst thou deny this, and make the earth mere dust 
and clay ? No, Apeecides ; all that is brightest in our hearts 
is that very credulity which peoples the universe with gods." 

lone answered as a believer in the poesy of the old mythology 
would answer. We may judge by that reply how obstinate and 
hard the contest which Christianity had to endure among the 
heathens. The Graceful Superstition was never silent ; every, 
the most household, action of their lives was entwined with it it 
was a portion of life itself, as the flowers are a part of the 
thyrsus. At every incident they recurred to a god, every cup of 
wine was prefaced by libation ; the very garlands on their 
thresholds were dedicated to some divinity ; their ancestors 
themselves, made holy, presided as Lares over their hearth and 
hall. So abundant was belief with them, that in their own 
climes, at this hour, idolatry has never thoroughly been out- 
rooted : it changes but its objects of worship ; it appeals to in- 
numerable saints where once it resorted to divinities ; and it 
pours its crowds, in listening reverence, to oracles at the shrines 
of St. Januarius or St. Dominic, instead of to those of Isis or 
Apollo. 

But these superstitions were not to the early Christians the 
object of contempt so much as of horror. They did not be- 
lieve, with the quiet scepticism of the heathen philosopher, that 
the gods were inventions of the priests ; nor even with the vulgar, 
that, according to the dim light of history, they had been mortals 
like themselves. They imagined the heathen divinities to be evil 
spirits ; they transplanted to Italy and to Greece the gloomy 
demons of India and the East ; and in Jupiter or in Mars they 
shuddered at the representative of Moloch or of Satan.* 

In Pompeii, a rough sketch of Pluto delineates that fearful deity in the 
shape we at present ascribe to the devil, and decorates him with the para- 
phernalia of horns and a tail. But, in all probability, it was from the mys- 
terious Pan, the haunter of solitary places, the inspirer of vague and soul- 
shaking terrors, that we took the vulgar notion of the outward likeness of 
the fiend ; it corresponds exactly to the cloven-footed Satan. And in the 
lewd and profligate rites of Pan, Christiana might well imagine they traced 
the deceptions of the devil. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 165 

Apsecides had not yet adopted formally the Christian faith, but 
he was already on the brink of it. He already participated the 
doctrines of Olinthus ; he already imagined that the lively im- 
aginations of the heathen were the suggestions of the arch-enemy 
of mankind. The innocent and natural answer of lone made 
him shudder. He hastened to reply vehemently, and yet so con- 
fusedly, that lone feared for his reason more than she dreaded 
his violence. 

"Ah, my brother," said she, " these hard duties of thine have 
shattered thy very sense. Come to me, Apaecides, my brother, my 
own brother ; give me thy hand, let me wipe the dew from thy 
brow ; chide me not now, I understand thee not ; think only that 
lone could not offend thee." 

" lone," said Apsecides, drawing her towards him, and re- 
garding her tenderly, "can I think that this beautiful form, this 
kind heart, may be destined to an eternity of torment?" 

" Dii meliora! the gods forbid !" said lone, in the customary 
form of words by which her contemporaries thought an omen 
might be averted. 

The words, and still more the superstition they implied, wound- 
ed the ear of Apcecides. He rose, muttering to himself, turned 
from the chamber, then stopping half-way, gazed wistfully on 
lone, and extended his arms. 

lone flew to them in joy ; he kissed her earnestly, and then he 
said, 

" Farewell, my sister! when we next meet thou mayest be to 
me as nothing ; take thou, then, this embrace full yet of all the 
tender reminiscences of childhood, when faith and hope, creeds, 
customs, interest, objects, were the same to us. Now, the tie is 
to be broken !" 

With these strange words he left the house. 
The great and severest trial of the primitive Christians was in- 
deed this ; their conversation separated them from their dearest 
bonds. They could not associate with beings whose commonest 
actions, whose commonest forms of speech, were impregnated 
with idolatry. They shuddered at the blessing of love, to their 
ears it was uttered in a demon's name. This, their misfortune, was 
their strength ; if it divided them from the rest of the world, it 
was to unite them proportionally to each other. They were men 
of iron who wrought forth the word of God, and verily the bonds 
that bound them were of iron also ! 

Glaucus found lone in tears ; he had already assumed the 
sweet privilege to console. He drew from her a recital of her 
interview with her brother ; but in her confused account of 
language, itself so confused to one not prepared for it, he was 



1 66 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

equally at a loss with lone to conceive the intention or the mean- 
ing of Apsecides. 

" Hast thou ever heard much," asked she, "of this new sect 
of the Nazarenes, of which my brother spoke?" 

" I have often heard enough of the votaries," returned Glau- 
cus, " but of their exact tenets know I nought, save that in their 
doctrine there seemeth something preternaturally chilling and 
morose. They live apart from their kind ; they affect to be 
shocked even at our simple uses of garlands ; they have no sym- 
pathies with the cheerful amusements of life ; they utter awful 
threats of the coming destruction of the world ; they appear, in 
one word, to have brought their unsmiling and gloomy creed 
out of the cave of Trophonius. Yet," continued Glaucus, after 
a slight pause, " they have not wanted men of great power and 
genius, nor converts even among the Areopagites of Athens. 
Well do I remember to have heard my father speak of one 
strange guest at Athens many years ago ; methinks his name 
was PAUL. My father was one amongst a mighty crowd that 
gathered on one of our immemorial hills to hear this sage of the 
East expound : through the wide throng there rang not a single 
murmur ! the jest and the roar, with which our native orators 
are received, were hushed for him ; and when on the loftiest 
summit of that hill, raised above the breathless crowd below, 
stood this mysterious visitor, his mien and his countenance awed 
every heart even before a sound left his lips. He was a man, I 
have heard my father say, of no tall stature, but of noble and 
impressive mien ; his robes were dark and ample ; the declining 
sun, for it was evening, shone aslant upon his form as it rose 
aloft, motionless and commanding ; his countenance was much 
worn and marked, as of one who had braved alike misfortune and 
the sternest vicissistude of many climes ; but his eyes were bright 
with an almost unearthly fire ; and when he raised his arm to 
speak, it was with the majesty of a man into whom the Spirit of 
a God hath rushed ! 

" ' Men of Athens !' he is reported to have said, ' I find amongst 
ye an altar with this inscription To THE UNKNOWN GOD. Ye 
worship in ignorance the same deity I serve. To you unknown 
till now, to you be it now revealed. ' 

" Then declared that solemn man how this great Maker of all 
things, who had appointed unto man his several tribes and his 
various homes the Lord of earth and the universal heaven, 
dwelt not in temples made with hands ; that His presence, His 
spirit, was in the air we breathe ; our life and our being was 
with Him. "Think you,' he cried, 'that the invisible is like 
your statues of gold and marble ? Think you that He needeth 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 167 

sacrifice from you : He who made heaven and earth ?' Then 
spake he of fearful and coming times, of the end of the world, of 
a second rising of the dead, whereof an assurance had been given 
to man in the resurrection of the mighty Being whose religion he 
came to preach. 

" When he thus spoke, the long-pent murmur went forth, and 
the philosophers that were mingled with the people muttered their 
sage contempt ; there might you have seen the chilling frown of 
the Stoic, and the Cynic's sneer ; and the Epicurean, who believeth 
not even in our own Elysium, muttered a pleasant jest, and swept 
laughing through the crowd ; but the deep heart of the people 
was touched and thrilled ; and they trembled, though they knew 
not why, for verily the stranger had the voice and majesty of a 
man to whom ' The Unknown God ' had committed the preach- 
ing of His faith." 

lone listened with rapt attention, and the serious and earnest 
manner of the narrator betrayed the impression that he himself 
had received from one who had been amongst the audience, that 
on the hill of the Heathen Mars had heard the first tidings of tha 
word of Christ ! 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE PORTER THE GIRL AND THE GLADIATOR. 

THE door of Diomed's house stood open, and Medon, the old 
slave, sat at the bottom of the steps by which you ascended 
to the mansion. That luxurious mansion of the rich merchant of 
Pompeii is still to be seen just without the gates of the city, at 
the commencement of the Street of Tombs ; it was a gay 
neighbourhood, despite the dead. On the opposite side, but at 
some yards nearer the gate, was a spacious hostelry, at which 
those brought by business or by pleasure to Pompeii often stop- 
ped to refresh themselves. In the space before the entrance of 
the inn now stood waggons, and carts, and chariots, some just 
arrived, some just quitting, in all the bustle of an animated and 
popular resort of public entertainment. Before the door, some 
farmers, seated on a bench by a small circular table, were talking 
over their morning cups on the affairs of their calling. On the 
side of the door itself was painted gaily and freshly the eternal 
sign of the chequers.* By the roof of the inn stretched a ter- 
race, on which some females, wives of the farmers above men- 
tioned, were, some seated, some leaning over the railing, and 
conversing with their friends below. In a deep recess, at a 

There is another inn within the walls similarly adorned. 



1 68 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

little distance, was a covered seat, in which some two or three 
poorer travellers were resting themselves, and shaking the dust 
from their garments. On the other side stretched a wide space, 
originally the burial-ground of a more ancient race than the 
present denizens of Pompeii, and now converted into the Ustri- 
num, or place for the burying of the dead. Above this rose the 
terraces of a gay villa, half hid by trees. The tombs themselves, 
with their graceful and varied shapes, the flowers and the foliage 
that surrounded them, made no melancholy feature in the pros- 
pect. Hard by the gate of the city, in a small niche, stood the 
still form of the well-disciplined Roman sentry, the sun shining 
brightly on his polished crest and the lance on which he leant. 
The gate itself was divided into three arches, the centre one for 
vehicles, the others for the foot-passengers, and on either side 
rose the massive walls which girt the city, composed, patched, 
repaired at a thousand different epochs, according as war, time, 
or the earthquake had shattered that vain protection. At frequent 
intervals rose square towers, whose summits broke in picturesque 
rudeness the regular line of the wall, and contrasted well with the 
modern buildings gleaming whitely by. 

The curving road, which in that direction leads from Pompeii 
to Herculaneum, wound out of sight amidst hanging vines, above 
which frowned the sullen majesty of Vesuvius. 

"Hast thou heard the news, old Meldon?" said a young 
woman with a pitcher in her hand, as she paused by Diomed's 
door to gossip a moment with the slave, ere she repaired to 
the neighbouring inn to fill the vessel, and coquet with the 
travellers. 

"The news! what news?" said the slave raising his eyes 
moodily from the ground. 

" Why, there passed through the gate this morning, no doubt 
ere thou wert well awake, such a visitor to Pompeii !" 

" Ay" said the slave, indifferently. 

" Yes, a present from the noble Pomponianus." 

"A present ! I thought thou saidst a visitor?" 

" It is both visitor and present. Know, O dull and stupid! that 
it is a most beautiful young tiger for our approaching games in 
the amphitheatre. Hear you that, Meldon ! Oh, what pleasure ! 
I declare I shall not sleep a wink till I see it ; they say it has such 
a roar !" 

" Poor fool !" said Meldon, sadly and cynically. 

" Fool me no fool, old churl ! It is a pretty thing, a tiger, 
especially if we could but find somebody for him to eat. We 
have now a lion and a tiger, only consider that, Meldon ! and for 
want of two good criminals perhaps we shall be forced to see them 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 169 

eat each other. By-the-by, your son is a gladiator, a handsome 
man and a strong can you not persuade him to fight the tiger ? 
Do now, you would oblige me mightily ; nay, you would be a 
benefactor to the whole town." 

"Vah! vah!" said the slave, with great asperity; "think 
of thine own danger ere thou thus pratest for my poor boy's 
death." 

"My own danger!" said the girl, frightened and looking 
hastily round " Avert the omen ! let thy words fall on thine own 
head !" And the girl as she spoke touched a talisman suspended 
round her neck. "'Thine own danger!' what danger threatens 
me?" 

" Had the earthquake but a few nights since no warning?" said 
Meldon. " Has it not a voice? Did it not say to us all, ' Prepare 
for death ; the end of all things is at hand?" 

" Bah, stuff!" said the young woman, settling the folds of 
her tunic. ' ' Now thou talkest as they say the Nazarenes 
talk, methinks thou art one of them. Well, I can prate with 
thee, grey croaker, no more : thou growest worse and worse 
Vale! O Hercules, send us a man for the lion, and another for 
the tiger ! 

" ' Ho ! ho ! for the merry, merry show, 
With a forest of faces in every row ; 
I/> the swordsman, bold as the son of Alcmsena, 
Sweep, side by side, o'er the hushed arena ; 
Talk while you may. you will hold your breath 
When they meet in the grasp of the glowing death. 
Tramp, tramp, how gaily they go ! 
Ho ! ho ! for the merry, merry show !' " 

Chanting in a silver and clear voice this feminine dity, and 
holding up her tunic from the dusty road, the young woman 
stepped lightly across to the crowded hostelry. 

" My poor son ! " said the slave, half aloud, " is it for things 
like this thou art to be butchered? Oh ! faith of Christ, I could 
worship thee in all sincerity, were it but for the horror which thou 
inspires! for these bloody lists." 

The old man's head sank dejectedly on his breast. He re- 
mained silent and absorbed, but every now and then with the 
corner of his sleeve he wiped his eyes. His heart was with his 
son ; he did not see the figure that now approached from the gate 
with a quick step, and a somewhat fierce and reckless gait and 
carriage. He did not lift his eyes till the figure paused oppo- 
site the place where he sat, and with a soft voice addressed him 
by the name of 

"Father |" 



170 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" My boy I my Lydon ! is it indeed thou?" said the old man, 
joyfully. " Ah ! thou wert present to my thoughts." 

" I am glad to hear it, my father," said the gladiator, respect- 
fully touching the knees and beard of the slave ; ' ' and soon may 
I be always present with thee, not in thought only." 

"Yes, my son, but not in this world," replied the slave 
mournfully. 

' ' Talk not thus, O my sire ! look cheerfully, for I feel so. I 
am sure that I shall win the day ; and then, the gold I gain buys 
thy freedom. Oh ! my father, it was but a few days since that I 
was taunted, by one, too, whom I would gladly have undeceived, 
for he is more generous than the rest of his equals. He is not 
Roman, he is of Athens ; by him I was taunted with the lust of 
gain, when I demanded what sum was the prize of victory. Alas ! 
he little knew the soul of Lydon !" 

" My boy ! my boy ! " said the old slave, as, slowly ascending 
the steps, he conducted his son to his own little chamber, com- 
municating with the entrance hall, which in this villa was the 
peristyle, not the atrim ; you may see it now ; it is the third 
door to the right on entering. (The first door conducts to the 
staircase ; the second is but a false recess, in which there stood a 
statue of bronze.) "Generous, affectionate, pious as are thy 
motives," said Meldon, when they were thus secured from obser- 
vation, ' ' thy deed itself is guilt : thou art to risk thy blood for thy 
father's freedom that might be forgiven ; but the prize of victory 
is the blood of another. Oh, that is a deadly sin ; ho object can 
purify it. Forbear ! forbear ! rather would I be a slave for ever 
than purchase liberty on such terms!" 

" Hush ! my father ! " replied Lydon, somewhat impatiently ; 
" thou hast picked up in this new creed of thine, of which I pray 
thee not to speak to me, for the gods that gave me strength 
denied me wisdom, and I understand not one word of what thou 
often preachest to me, thou hast picked up, I say, in this new 
creed, some singular fantasies of right and wrong. Pardon me, 
if I offend thee : but reflect ! Against whom shall I contend ? 
Oh ! couldst thou know those wretches with whom, for thy sake, 
I assort, thou wouldst think I purified earth by removing one of 
them. Beasts, whose very lips drop blood ; things all savage, 
unprincipled in their very courage ; ferocious, heartless, sense- 
less ; no tie of life can bind them : they know not fear it is true, 
but neither know they gratitude, nor charity, nor love ; they are 
made but for their own career to slaughter without pity, to die 
without dread ! Can thy gods, whosoever they be~, look wi'th 
wrath on p. conflict with such as these, and in such a cause? Oh, 
my father, wherever the powers above gaze down on earth, they 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 171 

behold no duty so sacred, so sanctifying, as the sacrifice offered 
to an aged parent by the piety of a grateful son." 

The poor old slave, himself deprived of the light of knowledge, 
and only late a convert to the Christian faith, knew not with what 
arguments to enlighten an ignorance at once so dark, yet so 
beautiful in its error. His first impulse was to throw himself on 
his son's breast his next to start away to wring his hands ; 
and in the attempt to reprove, his broken voice lost itself in 
weeping. 

"And if," resumed Lydon, " if thy Deity (methinks thou wilt 
own but one?) be indeed that benevolent and pitying power 
which thou assertest Him to be, He will know also that thy 
very faith in Him first confirmed me in that determination thou 
blamest." 

" How ! what mean you?" said the slave. 

" Why, thou knowest that I, sold in my childhood as a slave, 
was set free at Rome by the will of my master, whom I had been 
fortunate enough to please. I hastened to Pompeii to see thee 
I found thee, already aged and infirm, under the yoke of a capri- 
cious and pampered lord thou hadst lately adopted this new 
faith, and its adoption made thy slavery doubly painful to thee ; 
it took away all the softening charm of custom, which reconciles 
us so often to the worst. Didst thou not complain to me that 
thou wert compelled to offices that were not odious to thee as a 
slave, but guilty as a Nazarene ? Didst thou not tell me that thy 
soul shook with remorse, when thou wert compelled to place 
even a crumb of cake before the Lares that watch over yon im- 
pluvium ? that thy soul was torn by a perpetual struggle ? Didst 
thou not tell me, that even by pouring wine before the threshold, 
and calling on the name of some Grecian deity, thou didst fear thou 
wert incurring penalties worse than those of Tantalus, an eternity 
of torture more terrible than those of Tartarian fields ? Didst 
thou not tell me this? I wondered, I could not comprehend; 
nor, by Hercules ! can I now : but I was thy son, and my sole 
task was to compassionate and relieve. Could I hear thy groans, 
could I witness thy mysterious horrors, thy constant anguish, 
and remain inactive ? No ! by the immortal gods ! the thought 
struck me like light from Olympus. I had no money, but I had 
strength and youth ; these were thy gifts ; I could sell these 
in my turn fof thee! I learned the amount of thy ransom. 
I learned that the usual prize of a victorious gladiator would 
doubly pay it. I became a gladiator. I linked myself with 
those accursed men, scorning, loathing, while I joined I acquired 
their skill ; blessed be the lesson ! it shall teach me to free my 
father !" 



1 72 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Oh, that thou couldst hear Olinthus ! " sighed the old man, 
more and more affected by the virtue of his son, but not less 
strongly convinced of the criminality of his purpose. 

" I will hear the whole world talk, if thou wilt," answered the 
gladiator, gaily ; ' ' but not till thou art a slave no more. Beneath 
thy own roof, my father, thou shall puzzle this full brain all day 
long, ay, and all night too, if it gives thee pleasure. Oh, such a 
spot as I have chalked out for thee ! it is one of the nine hundred 
and ninety-nine shops of old Julia Felix, in the sunny part of the 
city, where thou mayest bask before the door in the day and I 
will sell the oil and the wine for thee, my father and then, please 
Venus (or if it does not please her, since thou lovest not her name, 
it is all one to Lydon) ; then I say, perhaps thou mayst have a 
daughter too, to tend thy grey hairs, and hear shrill voices at thy 
knee, that shall call thee ' Lydon's father !' Ah ! we shall be so 
happy, the prize can purchase all. Cheer thee ! cheer up, my 
sire ! And now I must away day wears the lanista waits me, 
Come ! thy blessing." 

As Lydon thus spoke, he had already quitted the dark cham- 
ber of his father ; and speaking eagerly, though in a whispered 
tone, they now stood at the same place in which we introduced 
the porter at his post. 

" O bless thee! bless thee ! my brave boy," said Meldon, fer- 
vently ; ' ' and may the great Power that reads all hearts see the 
nobleness of thine, and forgive its error." 

The tall shape of the gladiator passed swiftly down the path ; 
the eye of the slave followed its light, but stately step, till 
the last glimpse was gone ; and then, sinking once more on 
his seat, his eyes again fastened themselves on the ground. 
His form, mute and unmoving, as a thing of stone. His heart ! 
who, in our happier age, can even imagine its struggles, its 
commotion ! 

" May I enter?" said a sweet voice. " Is thy mistress Julia 
within?" 

The slave mechanically motioned to the visitor to enter, but 
she who addressed him could not see the gesture ; she repeated 
her question timidly, but in a louder voice. 

" Have I not told thee?" said the slave peevishly ; ".enter." 

"Thanks," said the speaker, plaintively; and the slave, 
roused by the tone, looked up, and recognised the blind flower- 
girl. Sorrow can sympathise with affliction ; he raised him- 
self, and guided her steps to the head of the adjacent stair- 
case, by which you descended to Julia's apartment, where, 
summoning a female slave, he consigned to her the charge of 
the blind girl. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 173 
CHAPTER VII. 

THE DRESSING-ROOM OF A POMPEIAN BEAUTY. IMPORTANT 
CONVERSATION BETWEEN JULIA AND NYDIA. 

THE elegant Julia sat in her chamber with her slaves around 
her. Like the cubiculum which adjoined it, the room was 
small, but much larger than the usual apartments appropriated 
to sleep, which were generally so diminitive, that few who have 
not seen the bedchambers, even in the greatest mansions, can 
form any notion of the petty pigeon-holes in which the citizens 
of Pompeii evidently thought it desirous to pass the night. But 
in fact, "bed" with the ancients was not that grave, serious, 
and important part of domestic mysteries which it is with us. 
The couch itself was more like a verry narrow and small sofa, 
light enough to be transported easily, and by the occupant him- 
self,* from place to place ; and it was, no doubt, constantly 
shifted from chamber to chamber, according to the caprices of 
the inmate, or the changes of the season. For that side of the 
house which was crowded in one month might perhaps be care- 
fully avoided in the next, so susceptible were the inhabitants of 
the most beautiful climate in the world of those alternations of 
sun and breeze, which to our hardier frame, inured to the harsh 
skies of the north, would be scarcely perceptible. There was 
also among the Italians of that period a singular and fastidious 
apprehension of too much daylight. Their darkened chambers, 
which at first appear to us the result of a negligent architecture, 
were the effect of the most elaborate study. In their porticoes 
and gardens they courted the sun whenever it so pleased their 
luxurious tastes. In the interior of their houses they sought 
rather the coolness and the shade. 

Julia's apartment at that season was in the lower part of the 
house, immediately beneath the state-rooms above, and looking 
upon the garden, with which it was on a level. The wide door, 
which was glazed, alone admitted the morning rays ; yet her eye, 
accustomed to a certain darkness, was sufficiently acute to per- 
ceive exactly what colours were the most becoming, what shade 
of the delicate rouge gave the brightest beam to her dark glance, 
and the most useful freshness to her cheek. 

On the table before which she sat was a small and circular mir- 
ror of the most polished steel, round which, in precise order, 
were ranged the cosmetics and the unguents, the perfumes and 
the paints, the jewels and the combs, the ribands and the gold 
pins, which were destined to add to the natural attractions of 

" " Take up thy bed and walk," was (as Sir W. Gell somewhere observes) 
no metaphorical expression. 



174 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

beauty the assistance of art and the capricious allurements of 
fashion. Through the dimness of the room glowed brightly the 
vivid and various colourings of the wall, in all the dazzling fres- 
coes of Pompeian taste. Before the dressing-table, and under 
the feet of Julia, was spread a carpet, woven from the looms of 
the East. Near at hand, on another table, was a silver basin 
and ewer ; an extinguished lamp, of most exquisite workman- 
ship, in which the artist had represented a Cupid reposing under 
the spreading branches of a myrtle tree ; and a small roll of 
papyrus containing the softest elegies of Tibullus. Before the 
door, which communicated with the cubiculum, hung a curtain, 
richly broidered with gold flowers. Such was the dressing-room 
of a beauty eighteen centuries ago. 

The fair Julia leaned indolently back on her seat, while the 
ornatrix (i.e., hairdresser) slowly piled one above another a 
mass of small curls, dexterously weaving the false with the 
true, and carrying the whole fabric to a height that seemed to 
place the head rather at the centre than the summit of the 
human form. 

Her tunic, of a deep amber, which well set off her dark hair 
and somewhat embrowned complexion, swept in ample folds to 
her feet, which were cased in slippers, fastened round the slender 
ankle by white thongs, while a profusion of pearls were em- 
broidered in the slipper itself, which was of purple, and turned 
slightly upward, as do the Turkish slippers at this day. An old 
slave, skilled by long experience in all the arcana of the toilette, 
stood beside the hairdresser, with the broad and studded girdle 
of her mistress over her arm, and giving from time to time, 
mingled with judicious flattery to the lady herself, instructions to 
the mason of the ascending pile. 

"Put that pin rather more to the right ; lower, stupid one! 
Do you not observe how even those beautiful eyebrows are ? One 
would think you were dressing Corinna, whose face is all of one 
side. Now put in the flowers ; what, fool ! not that dull pink. 
You are not suiting colours to the dim cheek of Chloris. It must 
be the brightest flowers that can alone suit the cheek of the young 
Julia." 

"Gently!" said the lady stamping her small foot violently. 
" You pull my hair as if you were plucking up a weed." 

" Dull thing !" continued the directress of the ceremony. " Do 
you not know how delicate is your mistress ? You are not dress- 
ing the coarse horse-hair of the widow Fulvia. Now, then, the 
riband ; that's right. Fair Julia, look in the mirror. Saw you 
ever anything so lovely as yourself?" 

When, after innumerable comments, difficulties, and delays, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 175 

the intricate tower was at length completed, the next preparation 
was that of giving to the eyes the soft languish produced by a 
dark powder applied to the lids and brows. A small patch, cut 
in the form of a crescent, skilfully placed by the rosy lips, attract- 
ed attention to their dimples, and to the teeth, to which already 
every art had been applied in order to heighten the dazzle of their 
natural whiteness. 

To another slave, hitherto idle, was now consigned the charge 
of arranging the jewels, the earrings of pearl (two to each ear), 
the massive bracelets of gold, the chain formed of rings of the 
same metal, to which a talisman cut in crystals was attached ; 
the graceful buckle on the left shoulder, in which was set an ex- 
quisite cameo of Psyche ; the girdle of purple riband richly 
wrought with threads of gold, and clasped by interlacing ser- 
pents ; and lastly, the various rings fitted to every joint of the 
white and slender fingers. The toilette was now arranged ac- 
cording to the last mode of Rome. The fair Julia regarded her- 
self with a last gaze of complacent vanity, and reclining again 
upon her seat, she bade the youngest of her slaves, in a listless 
tone, read to her the enamoured couplets of Tibullus. This 
lecture was still proceeding, when a female slave admitted Nydia 
into the presence of the lady of the place. 

"Salve, Julia," said the flower-girl, arresting her steps within 
a few paces from the spot where Julia sat, and crossing her arms 
upon her breast ; " I have obeyed your commands." 

" You have done well, flower-girl," answered the lady. "Ap- 
proach you may take a seat." 

One of the slaves placed a stool by Julia, and Nydia seated 
herself. 

Julia looked hard at the Thessalian for some moments in rather 
an embarrassed silence. She then motioned her attendants to 
withdraw, and to close the door. When they were alone, she 
said, looking mechanically from Nydia, and forgetful that she 
was with one who could not observe her countenance, 

" You serve the Neapolitan, lone?" 

" I am with her at present," answered Nydia. 

" Is she as handsome as they say?" 

" I know not,'' replied Nydia. " How can /judge?" 

"Ah! I should have remembered. But thou hast ears, if 
not eyes. Do thy fellow-slaves tell thee she is handsome? 
Slaves talking with one another, forget to flatter even their 
mistress." 

" They tell me that she is beautiful." 

" Hem ! say they that she is tall?" 

"Yes." 



176 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Why, so am I. Dark-haired?" 

" I have heard so." 

" So am I. And doth Glaucus visit her much?" 

" Daily," returned Nydia, with a half-suppressed sigh. 

" Daily, indeed! Does he find her handsome?" 

" I should think so, since they are so soon to be wedded." 

"Wedded! " cried Julia, turning pale even through the false 
roses on her cheek, and starting from her couch ; Nydia did not 
of course perceive the emotion she had caused. Julia remained 
a long time silent ; but her heaving breast and flashing eyes would 
have betrayed to one who could have seen, the wound her vanity 
sustained. 

" They tell me thou art a Thessalian," she said, at last break- 
ing silence. 

"And truly." 

' ' Thessaly is the land of magic and of witches, of talismans 
and of love-philtres," said Julia. 

"It has ever been celebrated for its sorcerers, "returned Nydia 
timidly. 

" Knowest thou, then, blind Thessalian, of any love-charms?" 

" I !" said the flower-girl, colouring, "// how should I? No, 
assuredly not. " 

" The worse for thee , I could have given thee gold enough to 
have purchased thy freedom hadst thou been more wise." 

"But what," asked Nydia, "can induce the beautiful and 
wealthy Julia to ask that question of her servant? Has she not 
money, and youth, and loveliness? Are they not love-charms 
enough to dispense with magic?" 

" To all but one person in the world," answered Julia, 
haughtily: " but methinks thy blindness is infectious and but 
no matter." 

" And that one person?" said Nydia, eagerly. 

" Is not Glaucus," replied Julia, with the customary deceit of 
her sex. "Glaucus no!" 

Nydia drew her breath more freely, and after a short pause, 
Julia recommenced 

" But talking of Glaucus, and his attachment to this Neapoli- 
tan, reminded me of the influence of love-spells, which, for aught 
I know or care, she may have exercised upon him. Blind girl, I 
love, and shall Julia live to say it? am loved not in return! 
This humbles ; nay, not humbles, but it stings my pride. I would 
see this ingrate at my feet ; not in order that I might raise, but 
that I might spurn him. When they told me thou wert Thessa- 
lian, I imagined thy young mind might have learned the dark 
secrets of thy clime." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 177 

"Alas ! no," murmured Nydia ; " would it had!" 

"Thanks, at least, for that kindly wish," said Julia, uncon- 
scious of what was passing in the breast of the flower-girl. 

" But tell me, thou hearest the gossip of slaves, always prone 
to these dim beliefs ; always ready to apply to sorcery for their 
own low loves ; hast thou ever heard of any Eastern magician in 
this city who possesses the art of which thou art ignorant ? No 
vain chiromancer, no juggler of the market-place, but some more 
potent and mighty magician of India or of Egypt !" 

" Of Egypt? yes," said Nydia, shuddering ; " what Pompeian 
has not heard of Arbaces !" 

"Arbaces! true," replied Julia, grasping at the recollection. 
" They say he is a man above all the petty and false impostures 
of dull pretenders ; that he is versed in the learning of the stars, 
and the secrets of the ancient Nox ; why not in the mysteries of 
love?" 

" If there be one magician living, whose art is above that of 
others, it is that dread man," answered Nydia ; and she felt her 
talisman while she spoke. 

" He is too wealthy to divine for money," continued Julia, 
sneeringly ; " can I not visit him?" 

" It is an evil mansion for the young and the beautiful," replied 
Nydia. " I have heard, too, that he languishes in " 

"An evil mansion 1" said Julia, catching only the first sentence. 
" Why so?" 

" The orgies of his midnight leisure are impure and polluted, 
at least, so says rumour." 

" By Ceres, by Pan, and by Cybele, thou dost but provoke my 
curiosity instead of exciting my fears," returned the wayward and 
pampered Pompeian, " I will seek and question him of his lore. 
If to these orgies love be admitted why the more likely that he 
knows its secrets." 

Nydia did not answer. 

"I will seek him this very day," resumed Julia; "nay, why not 
this very hour?" 

"At daylight, and in his present state, thou hast assuredly the 
less to fear," answered Nydia, yielding to her own sudden and 
secret wish to learn if the dark Egyptian were indeed possessed 
of those spells to rivit and attract love of which the Thessalian 
had so often heard. 

"And who would dare insult the rich daughter of Diomed?" 
said Julia, haughtily. " I will go." 

"May I visit thee afterwards, to learn the result?" asked 
Nydia, anxiously. 

" Kiss me for thy interest in Julia's honour," answered the 

L 



178 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

lady. " Yes, assuredly. This eve we sup abroad ; come hither 
at the same hour to-morrow, and thou shall know all : I may 
have to employ thee too ; but enough for the present. Stay, 
take this bracelet for the new thought thou hast inspired me 
with ; remember if thou servest Julia, she is grateful and she is 
generous." 

"1 cannot take thy present," said Nydia, putting aside the 
bracelet ; " but young as I am, I can sympathise, unbought, with 
those who love, and love in vain." 

" Sayest thou so !" returned Julia ; " thou speakest like a free 
woman, and thou shall yet be free farewell !" 

CHAPTER VIII. 

JULIA SEEKS ARBACES. THE RESULT OF THAT INTERVIEW. 

A RBACES was seated in a chamber which opened on a kind 
\ of balcony or portico that fronted his garden. His cheek 
was pale and worn with the sufferings he had endured, but his 
iron frame had already recovered from the severest effects of that 
accident which had frustrated his fell designs in the moment of 
victory. The air that came fragrantly to his brow revived his 
languid senses, and the blood circulated more freely than it had 
done for days through his shrunken veins. 

" So, then," thought he, " the storm of fate has broken and 
blown over ; the evil which my lore predicted, threatening life 
itself, has chanced, and yet I live ! It came as the stars fore- 
told, and now the long, bright, and prosperous career which was 
to succeed that evil, if I survived it, smiles beyond. I have 
passed, I have subdued the latest danger of my destiny. Now I 
have but to lay out the gardens of my future fate unterrified 
and secure. First, then, of all my pleasures even before that of 
love shall come that of revenge ! This boy Greek, who has 
crossed my passion, thwarted my designs, baffled my designs, 
baffled me even when the blade was about to drink his accursed 
blood, shall not a second time escape me. But for the method 
of my vengeance? Of that let me ponder well! Oh, Ate 1 , if 
if thou art indeed a goddess, fill me with thy fullest inspirations !" 
The Egyptian sank into an intent reverie, which did not seem to 
present to him any clear or satisfactory suggestions. He 
changed his position restlessly as he revolved scheme after 
scheme, which no sooner occurred than it was dismissed ; 
several times he struck his breast and groaned aloud, with the 
desire of vengeance, and a sense of his importance to accom- 
plish it. While thus absorbed, a boy slave timidly entered the 
chamber. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 179 

"A female, evidently of rank from her dress, and that of the 
single slave who attended her, waited below, and sought an 
audience with Arbaces." 

"A female !" his heart beat quick. " Is she young?" 

"Her face is concealed by her veil ; but her form is slight, yet 
round, as that of youth." 

" Admit her," said the Egyptian. For a moment his vain heart 
dreamt the stranger might be lone. 

The first glance of the visitor now entering the apartment 
sufficed to undeceive so erring a fancy. True, she was about 
the same height as lone, and perhaps the same age ; true, she 
was finely and richly formed ; but where was tnat undulating 
and ineffable grace which accompanied every motion of the 
peerless Neapolitan the chaste and decorus garb, so simple 
even in the care of its arrangement the dignified yet bashful 
step the majesty of womanhood and its modesty ? 

" Pardon me that I rise with pain," said Arbaces, gazing on 
the stranger ; " I am still suffering from recent illness." 

" Do not disturb thyself, O great Egyptian !" returned Julia, 
seeking to disguise the fear she already experienced beneath the 
ready resort of flattery ; "and forgive an unfortunate female who 
seeks consolation from thy wisdom." 

" Draw near, fair stranger," said Arbaces, "and speak without 
apprehension or reserve." 

Julia placed herself on a seat beside the Egyptian, and won- 
deringly gazed round an apartment whose elaborate find costly 
luxuries shamed even the ornate enrichment of her father's man- 
sion ; fearfully, too, she regarded the hieroglyphical inscriptions 
on the walls the faces of the mysterious images, which at every 
corner gazed upon her the tripod at a little distance and, above 
all, the grave and remarkable countenance of Arbaces himself. A 
long white robe, like a veil, half covered his raven locks, and flowed 
to his feet ; his face was made even more impressive by its present 
paleness, and his dark and penetrating eyes seemed to pierce the 
shelter of her veil, and explore the secrets of her vain and unfemi- 
nine soul. 

" And what," said his low deep voice, "brings thee, O maiden ! 
to the house of the Eastern stranger?" 

" His fame," replied Julia. 

" In what?" said he, with a strange and slight smile. 

' ' Canst thou ask, O wise Arbaces ? Is not thy knowledge the 
very gossip theme of Pompeii ?" 

" Some little lore have I, indeed, treasured up," replied Arba- 
ces ; " but in what can such serious and sterile secrets benefit the 
ear of beauty?" 



l8o THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Alas !" said Julia, a little cheered by the accustomed accents 
of adulation ; ' ' does not sorrow fly to wisdom for relief ; and 
they who love unrequitedly, are not they the chosen victims of 
grief?" 

" Ha !" said Arbaces, " can unrequited love be the lot of so 
fair a form, whose modelled proportions are visible even beneath 
the folds of thy graceful robe ? Deign, O maiden ! to lift thy 
veil, that I may see at least if the face correspond in loveliness 
with the form." 

Not unwilling, perhaps, to exhibit her charms, and thinking 
they were likely to interest the magician in her face, Julia, after 
some slight hesitation, raised her veil, and revealed a beauty 
which, but for art, had been indeed attractive to the fixed gaze of 
the Egyptian. 

"Thou comest to me for advice in unhappy love," said he. 
"Well, turn that face on the ungrateful one; what other love- 
charm can I give thee ?" 

" Oh, cease these courtesies! " said Julia ; "it is a. love-charm, 
indeed, that I would ask from thy skill !" 

" Fair stranger," replied Arbaces, somewhat scornfully ; " love- 
spells are not among a portion of the secrets I have wasted the 
midnight oil to attain." 

"Is it indeed so ? Then pardon me, great Arbaces, and 
farewell!" 

" Stay," said Arbaces, who, despite his passion for lone, was 
not unmoved by the beauty of his visitor ; and had he been in the 
flush of a more assured health, might have attempted to cpnsole 
the fair Julia by other means than those of supernatural wisdom. 
" Stay ; although I confess that I have left the witchery of philtres 
and potions to those whose trade is in such knowledge, yet am I 
myself not so dull to beauty but that in earlier youth I may have 
employed them in my own behalf. I may give thee advice, at 
least, if thou wilt be candid with me. Tell me, then, first, art thou 
unmarried, as thy dress betokens?" 

" Yes," said Julia. 

"And being unblest with fortune, wouldst thou allure some 
wealthy suitor?" 

" I am richer than he who disdains me." 

" Strange and more strange ! And thou lovest him who lovest 
not thee?" 

" I know not if I love him," answered Julia, haughtily ; " but 
I know that I would see myself triumph over a rival I would see 
him who rejected me, my suitor ; I would see her whom he has 
preferred, in her turn despised." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 181 

" A natural ambition and a womanly," said the Egyptian, in a 
tone too grave for irony : ' ' yet more, fair maiden ; wilt thou con- 
fide to me the name of thy lover? Can he be Pompeian, and 
despise wealth, even if blind to beauty?" 

" He is of Athens," answered Julia, looking down. 

" Ha !" cried the Egyptian, impetuously, as the blood rushed 
to his cheek ; ' ' there is but one Athenian, young and noble, in 
Pompeii. Can it be Glaucus of whom thou speakest ?" 

" Ah ! betray me not ; so indeed they call him." 

The Egyptian sank back, gazing vacantly on the averted face 
of the merchant's daughter, and muttering inly to himself. This 
conference, with which he had hitherto only trifled, amusing him- 
self with the credulity and vanity of his visitor might it not 
minister to his revenge? 

" I see thou canst assist me not," said Julia, offended by his 
continued silence ; ' ' guard at least my secret. Once more, 
farewell!" 

" Maiden," said the Egyptian, in an earnest and serious tone ; 
" thy suit hath touched me I will minister to thy will. Listen 
to me ; I have not myself dabbled in these lesser mysteries, but 
I know one who hath. At the base of Vesuvius, less than a 
league from the city, there dwells a powerful witch ; beneath the 
rank dews of the new moon she has gathered the herbs which 
possess the virtue to chain love in eternal fetters. Her art can 
bring thy lover to thy feet. Seek her, and mention to her the 
name of Arbaces ; she fears that name, and will give thee her 
most potent philtres." 

" Alas !" answered Julia, "I know not the road to the home 
of her whom thou speakest of : the way, short though it be, 
is long to traverse for a girl who leaves, unknown, the house 
of her father. The country is entangled with wild vines, and 
dangerous with precipitous caverns. I dare not trust to mere 
strangers to guide me, the reputation of women of my rank is 
easily tarnished, and though I care not who knows that I love 
Glaucus, I would not have it imagined that I obtained his love 
by a spell." 

" Were I but three days advanced in health," said the Egyp- 
tian, rising and walking as if to try his strength across the 
chamber, but with irregular and feeble steps, ' ' I myself wguld 
accompany thee. Well, thou must wait." 

' But Glaucus is soon to wed that hated Neapolitan." 

Wed!" 

1 Yes, in the early part of next month." 

' So soon ! Art thou well advised of this ?" 

' From the lips of her own slave." 



182 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" It shall not be !" said the Egyptian impetuously; "fear no- 
thing, Glaucus shall be thine yet. Yet how, when thou obtainest 
it, canst thou administer to him this potion ?" 

" My father has invited him, and, I believe the Neapolitan also, 
to a banquet, on the day following to-morrow ; I shall then have 
the opportunity to administer it." 

" So be it!" said the Egyptian, with eyes flashing such fierce 
joy that Julia's gaze sank trembling beneath them. 

"To-morrow eve, then, order thy litter; thou hast one at thy 
command?" 

" Surely ; yes," returned the purse-proud Julia. 

"Order thy litter ; at two miles' distance from the city is a 
house of entertainment, frequented by the wealthier Pompeians, 
from the excellence of its baths, and the beauty of its gardens. 
There canst thou pretend only to shape thy course ; there, ill or 
dying, I will meet thee by the statue of Silenus, in the copse that 
skirts the garden : and I myself will guide thee to the witch. Let 
us wait till, with the evening star, the goats of the herdsmen are 
gone to rest ; when the dark twilight conceals us, and none shall 
cross our steps. Go home, and fear not. By Hades, swears 
Arbaces, the sorcerer of Egypt, that lone shall never wed with 
Glaucus ! " 

" And that Glaucus shall be mine?" added Julia, filling up the 
incompleted sentence. 

' ' Thou hast said it !" replied Arbaces ; and Julia, half frighten- 
ed at this unhallowed appointment, but urged on by jealousy 
and the pique of rivalship even more than love, resolved to 
fulfil it. 

Left alone, Arbaces burst forth 

" Bright stars that never lie, ye already begin the execution of 
your promises success in love, and victory over foes, for the rest 
of my smooth existence. In the very hour when my mind could 
devise no clue to the hour when my mind could devise no clue to 
the goal of vengeance, have ye sent this fair fool fir my guide 1" 
He paused in deep thought. "Yes," said he again, but in a 
calmer voice ; " I could not myself have given to her the poison 
that shall be indeed a philtre ! his death might be thus tracked to 
my door. But the witch ay, there is the fit, the natural, agent 
of my designs !" 

He summoned one of his slaves, bade him hasten to track the 
steps of Julia, and acquaint himself with her name and con- 
dition. This done, he stepped forth into the portico. The skies 
were serene and clear ; but he, deeply read in the signs of their 
various change, beheld in one mass of cloud, far on the horizon, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 183 

which the wind began slowly to agitate, that a storm was brood- 
ing above. 

" It is like my vengeance," said he, as he gazed ; "the sky is 
clear but the cloud moves on." 



CHAPTER IX. 

A STORM IN THE SOUTH. THE WITCH'S CAVERN. 

T T was when the heats of noon died gradually away from the 
1 earth, that Glaucus and lone went forth to enjoy the cooled 
and grateful air. At that time various carriages were in use 
among the Romans : the one most used by the richer citizens, 
when they required no companion in their excursions, was the 
biga, already described in the early portion of this work ; that 
appropriated to the matrons was termed carpentum* which had 
had commonly two wheels ; the ancients used also a sort of litter, 
a vast sedan-chair, more commodiously arranged than the 
modern, inasmuch as the occupant thereof could lie down at 
ease, instead of being perpendicularly and stiffly jostled up and 
down.f There was another carriage used both for travelling 
and for excursions in the country ; it was commodious, contain- 
ing three or four persons with ease, having a covering which 
could be raised at pleasure ; and, in short, answering very much 
the purpose of though very different from the modern britska. 
It was a vehicle of this description that the lovers, accompanied 
by one female slave of lone, now used in their excursion. 
About ten miles from the city, there was at that day an old 
ruin, the remains of a temple evidently Grecian ; and as for 
Glaucus and lone everything Grecian possessed an interest, they 
had agreed to visit these ruins ; it was thither they were now 
bound. 

" Their road lay among vines and olive groves ; till, winding 
more and more towards the higher ground of Vesuvius, the path 
grew rugged ; the mules moved slowly, and with labour ; and at 
every opening in the wood, they beheld those grey and horrent 
caverns indenting the parched rock, which Strabo has described, 
but which the various revolutions of time and the volcano have 
removed from the present aspect of the mountain. The sun, 
sloping towards his descent, cast long and deep shadows over 
the mountain : here and there they still heard the rustic reed of 
the shepherd amongst copses of the beechwood and wild oak. 

* For public festivals and games, they used one more luxurious and costly, 
called pdentum, with four wheels. 
V But the; had also the setta, or sedan in which they sat as we do. 



184 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Sometimes they marked the form of the silk-haired and graceful 
capella, with its wreathing horn and bright grey eye, which, still 
beneath Ausonian skies, recalls the eclogues of Maro, browsing 
half-way up the hills ; and the grapes, already purple with the 
smiles of the deepening summer, glowed out from the arched 
festoons, which hung pendent from tree to tree. Above them, 
light clowds floated in the serene heavens, sweeping so slowly 
athwart the firmament that they scarcely seemed to stir ; while, 
on their right, they caught, ever and anon, glimpses of the wave- 
less sea, with some light barque skimming its surface ; and the 
sunlight breaking over the deep in those countless and softest 
hues so peculiar to that delicious sea. 

" How beautiful," said Glaucus, in a half-whispered tone, " is 
that epithet by which we call Earth our Mother ! With what a 
kindly and equal love she pours her blessings upon her children ; 
and even to those sterile spots to which Nature has denied 
beauty, she yet contrives to dispense her smiles : witness the 
arbutus and the vine, which she wreaths over the arid and burn- 
ing soil of yon extinct volcano. Ah ! in such an hour and scene 
as this, well might we imagine that the laughing face of the faun 
should peep forth from those green festoons ; or, that we might 
trace ihe steps of the mountain nymph through the thickest mazes 
of the glade. But the nymphs ceased ; beautiful lone, when 
thou wert created !" 

There is no tongue that flatters like a lover's ; and yet, in the 
exaggeration of his feelings, flattery seems to him commonplace. 
Strange and prodigal exuberance, which soon exhausts itself by 
overflowing ! They tell us, that the esteem which follows passion 
is happier than passion itself: it may be true, the springs of 
fancy, of hope, of ambition, all urged into one channel, return to 
their natural streams. Love is a revolution ; there is no har- 
mony, no order ; there is, therefore, no settled happiness while 
it lasts ; but when the revolution is over, we are astonished at 
our past frenzy. We may love still ; we may be beloved ; but 
we are in love no more ! For my part, I think there are some 
kinds of imperfect happiness which are better than the perfect. 
Take away desire from the heart, and you take the air from the 
earth. 

They arrived at the ruins ; they examined them with that 
fondness with which we trace the hallowed and household 
vestiges of our own ancestry they lingered there till Hesperus 
appeared in the rosy Heavens ; and then returning homeward in 
the twilight, they were more silent than they had been for in the 
shadow and beneath the stars, they felt more oppressively their 
mutual love. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 185 

It was at this time that the storm which the Egyptian had pre- 
dicted began to creep visibly over them. At first a low and 
distant thunder gave warning of the approaching conflict of the 
elements ; and then rapidly rushed above the dark ranks of the 
serried clouds. The suddenness of storms in that climate is 
something almost preternatural, and might well suggest to early 
superstition the notion of a divine agency. A few large drops 
broke heavier among the boughs that half overhung their path, 
and then, swift and intolerably bright, the forked lightning darted 
across their very eyes, and was swallowed up by the increasing 
darkness. 

" Swifter, good carracarius," cried Glaucus to the driver ; " the 
tempest comes on apace." 

The slave urged on the mules they went swift over the uneven 
and stony road the clouds thickened, near and more near broke 
the thunder, and fast rushed the dashing rain. 

" Dost thou fear?" whispered Glaucus, as he sought excuse in 
the storm to come nearer to lone. 
" Not with thee," said she, softly. 

At that instant, the carriage fragile and ill-contrived, as, 
despite their graceful shapes, were, for practical uses, most of 
such inventions at that time struck violently into a deep rut, 
over which lay a log of fallen wood ; the driver, with a curse, 
stimulated his mules yet faster for the obstacle, the wheel was 
torn from the socket, and the carriage suddenly overset. 

Glaucus quickly extricating himself from the vehicle, hastened 
to assist lone, who was fortunately unhurt. With some difficulty 
they raised the carruca or carriage and found that it ceased 
any longer to afford them shelter ; the springs that fastened the 
covering were snapped asunder, and the rain poured fast and 
furiously into the interior. 

In this dilemma, what was to be done ? They were yet some 
distance from the city no house, no aid seemed near. 

" There is," said the slave, "a smith about a mile off; I could 
seek him, and he might fasten at least the wheel to the carruca 
but, Jupiter ! how the rain beats : my mistress will be wet before 
I come back." 

" Run thither at least," said Glaucus , " we must find the best , 
shelter we can till you return." 

The lane was overshadowed with trees, beneath the amplest of 
which Glaucus drew lone. He endeavoured, by stripping his 
own cloak, to shieW her yet more from the rapid rain ; but it 
descended with a fury that broke through all puny obstacles ; 
and suddenly, while Glaucus was yet whispering courage to his 
beautiful charge, the lightning struck one of the trees immediate- 



l86 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ly before them, and split with a mighty crash its huge trunk in 
twain. This awful incident apprized them of the danger they 
braved in their present shelter, and Glaucus looked anxiously 
round for some less perilous place of refuge. " We are now," 
said he half-way up the ascent of Vesuvius ; there ought to be 
some cavern, or hollow in the vine-clad rocks, could we but find 
it, in which the deserting nymphs have left a shelter. While 
thus saying, he moved from the trees, and looking wistfully to- 
wards the mountain, discovered through the advancing gloom 
a red and tremulous light at no considerable distance. " That 
must come," said he, "from the hearth of some shepherd, or 
vine-dresser it will guide us to some hospitable retreat. Wilt 
thou stay here while I yet no that would be to leave thee to 
danger." 

"I will go with you cheerfully," said lone; "open as the 
space seems, it is better than the treacherous shelter of these 
boughs." 

Half leading, half carrying lone, Glaucus, accompanied by 
the trembling slave, advanced towards the light which yet burned 
blue and steadfastly. At length, space was no longer open ; 
wild vines entangled their steps, and hid from them, save by im- 
perfect intervals, the guiding beam. But faster and fiercer came 
the rain, and the lightning assumed its most deadly and blasting 
form ; they were still, therefore, impelled onward, hoping at last 
if the light eluded them, to arrive at some cottage, or some 
friendly cavern. The vine grew more and more intricate ; the light 
was entirely snatched from them ; but a narrow path which they 
trod with labour and pain, guided only by the constant and long 
lingering flashes of the storm, continued to lead them towards 
its direction. The rain ceased suddenly ; precipitious and rough 
crags of scorched lava frowned before them, rendered more fear- 
ful by the lightning that illumined the dark and dangerous soil. 
Sometimes the blaze lingered over the iron-grey heaps of scoria, 
covered in part with ancient mosses or stunted trees, as if seek- 
ing in vain for some gentler product of earth, more worthy of its 
ire ; and sometimes leaving the whole of that part of the scene 
in darkness, the lightning, broad and sheeted, hung redly over 
the ocean, tossing far below, until its wave seemed glowing into 
fire ; and so intense was the blaze, that it brought vividly into 
view even the sharp outline of the more distant windings of the 
bay, from the eternal Misenum, with its lofty brow, to the beauti- 
lul Sorrentum and the giant hills behind. 

Our lovers stopped in perplexity and doubt, when suddenly, as 
the darkness that gloomed between the fiercer flashes of light- 
ning once more wrapped them round, they saw near, but high be- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 187 

for; them, the mysterious light. Another blaze, in which heaveu 
and earth were reddened, made visible to them the whole ex- 
panse. No house was near, but just where they had beheld the 
light, they thought they saw in the recess of a cavern the outline 
of a human -form. The darkness once more returned ; the light, 
no longer paled beneath the fires of heaven, burnt forth again ; 
they resolved to ascend towards it. They had to wind their way 
among vast fragments of stone, here and there overhung with 
wild bushes ; but they gained nearer and nearer to the light, 
and at length they stood opposite the mouth of a kind of 
cavern, apparently formed by huge splinters of rock that had 
fallen transversely athwart each other ; and looking into the 
gloom, each drew back involuntarily with a superstitious fear and 
chill. 

A fire burned in the far recess of the cave, and over it was a 
small cauldron ; on a tall and thin column of iron stood a rude 
lamp ; over that part of the wall, at the base of which burned the 
fire, hung in many rows, as if to dry, a profusion of herbs and 
weeds. A fox, couched before the fire, gazed upon the strangers 
with its bright and red eye, its hair bristling, and a low growl steal- 
ing from between its teeth ; in the centre of the cave was an 
earthen statue, which had three heads of a singular and fantastic 
cast : they were formed by the real skulls of a dog, a horse, and a 
boar ; a low tripod stood before this wild representation of the 
popular Hecate. 

But it was not these appendages and appliances of the cave 
that thrilled the blood of those who gazed fearfully therein, it 
was the face of its inmate. Before the fire, with the light shin- 
ing full upon her features, sat a woman of considerable age. 
Perhaps in no country are there seen so many hags as in Italy ; 
in no country does beauty so awfully change, in age, to hideous- 
ness the most appalling and revolting. But the woman now be- 
fore them was not one of these specimens of the extreme of hu- 
man ugliness ; on the contrary, her countenance betrayed the 
remains of a regular but high and aquiline order of feature : with 
stony eyes turned upon them with a look that met and fascinat- 
ed theirs they beheld in that fearful countenance the very image 
of a corpse the same, the glazed and lustreless regard ; the blue 
and shrunken lips, the drawn and hollow jaw ; the dead, lank 
hair, of a pale grey ; the livid, green, ghastly skin, which seemed 
all surely tinged and tainted by the grave ! 

" It is a dead thing !" said Glaucus. 

" Nay, it stirs ; it is a ghost or larva" faltered lone, as she 
clung to the Athenian's breast. 



1 88 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Oh, away, away !" groaned the slave ; "it is the Witch of 
Vesuvius." 

" Who are ye?" said a hollow and ghastly voice. " And what 
do ye here?" 

The sound, terrible and death-like as it was, suiting well the 
countenance of the speaker, and seeming rather the voice of some 
bodiless wanderer of the Styx than living mortal, would have 
made lone shrink back into the pitiless iury of the storm, but 
Glaucus, though not without some misgiving, drew her into the 
cavern. 

" We are storm-beaten wanderers from the neighbouring city," 
said he, "and decoyed hither by yon light. We crave shelter 
and the comfort of your hearth. 

As he spoke, the fox rose from the ground and advanced to- 
wards the strangers, showing from end to end its white teeth, 
and deepening in its menacing growl. 

" Down, slave !" said the witch ; and at the sound of her voice 
the beast dropped at once, covering its face with its brush, and 
keeping only its quick, vigilant eye fixed upon the invaders of its 
repose. "Come to the fire, if ye will!" said she, turning to 
Glaucus and his companions. "I never welcome living thing, 
save the owl, the fox, the toad, and the viper, so I cannot wel- 
come ye ; but come to the fire without welcome ; why stand upon 
form?" 

The language in which the hag addressed them was a strange 
and barbarous Latin, interlarded with many words of some more 
rude and ancient dialect. She did not stir from her seat, but 
gazed stonily upon them as Glaucus now released lone from her 
outer wrapping garments, and making her place herself on a log 
of wood, which was the only other seat he perceived at hand 
fanned with his breath the embers into a more glowing flame. 
The slave, encouraged by the boldness of her superiors, divested 
herself also of her long pallet, and crept timorously to the 
opposite corner of the hearth. 

"We disturb you, I fear," said the silver voice of lone, in 
conciliation. 

The witch did not reply : she seemed like one who has awaken- 
ed for a moment from the dead, and then relapsed once more into 
the eternal slumber. 

" Tell me," said she, suddenly, and after a long pause, "are ye 
brother and sister ?" 

" No," said lone, blushing. 

" Are ye married ?" 

" Not so," replied Glaucus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 189 

" Ho, lovers! Ha ha ha!" and the witch laughed so loud 
and so long, that the caverns rang again. 

The heart of lone stood still at that strange mirth. Glaucus 
muttered a rapid counterspell to the onvjn, and the slave turned 
as pale as the cheek of the witch herself. 

" Why dost thou laugh, old crone?" said Glaucus, somewhat 
sternly, as he concluded his invocation. 

" Did I laugh?" said the hag, absently. 

" She is in her dotage," whispered Glaucus. As he said this, 
he caught the glance of the hag, who fixed upon him a malignant 
and vivid glare. 

" Thou liest!" said she, abruptly. 

" Thou art an uncourteous welcomer," returned Glaucus. 

" Hush ! provoke her not, dear Glaucus !" whispered lone. 

" I will tell thee why I laughed, when I discovered ye were 
lovers," said the old woman. " It was because it is a pleasure to 
the old and withered to look upon young hearts like yours, and 
to know the time will come when ye will loathe each other 
loathe loathe ha, ha, ha !" 

It was now lone's turn to pray against the unpleasing 
prophecy. 

" Dii, avertite omen: the gods forbid !" said she. "Yet, poor 
woman, thou knowest little of love, or thou wouldst know that it 
never changes." 

1 ' Was I young once, think ye ? " returned the hag, quickly ; 
"and am I old and hideous and deathly now? Such as is 
the form, so is the heart." With these words she sank again 
into a stillness profound and fearful, as if the cessation of life 
itself. 

" Hast thou dwelt here long?" said Glaucus, after a pause, 
feeling uncomfortably oppressed beneath a silence so appalling. 

"Ah, long ! yes." 

" It is but a drear abode." 

"Ha! thou mayest well say that. Hell is beneath us ;" re- 
plied the hag, pointing her bony finger to the earth. "And I 
will tell thee a secret, the dim things below are preparing wrath 
for ye above you, the young, and the thoughtless, and the 
beautiful. " 

" Thou utterest but evil words, ill becoming the hospitable," 
said Glaucus ; ' ' and in future I will brave the tempest rather than 
thy welcome." 

' ' Thou wilt do well. None should ever seek me, save the 
wretched." 

"And why the wretched?" asked the Athenian. 

" I am the witch of the mountain," replied the sorceress, with 



190 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

a ghastly grin ; "my trade is to give hope to the hopeless ; for the 
crossed in love, I have philtres ; for the avaricious, promises of 
treasure ; for the malicious, potions of revenge ; for the happy 
and the good, I have only what life has curses ! Trouble me 
no more." 

With this the grim tenant of the cave relapsed into a silence 
so obstinate and sullen, that Glaucus in vain endeavoured to 
draw her into further conversation. She did not evince, by any 
alteration of her locked and rigid features, that she even heard 
him. Fortunately, however, the storm, which was brief as vio- 
lent, began now to relax ; and at last, as rain grew less and less 
fierce ; and at last, as the clouds parted, the moon burst forth in 
the purple opening of heaven, and streamed clear and full into 
that desolate abode. Never had she shone, perhaps, on a group 
more worthy of the painter's art. The young, the all-beautiful 
lone, seated by that rude fire, her lover, already forgetful of 
the presence of the hag, at her feet, gazing upward to her face, 
and whispering sweet words, the pale and affrighted slave at a 
little distance, and the ghastly hag resting her deadly eyes upon 
them. Yet seemingly serene and fearless (for the companionship 
of love hath such power) where these beautiful beings, things of 
another sphere, in the dark and unholy cavern, with its gloomy 
quaintness of appurtenance. The fox regarded them from his 
corner with his keen and glowing eye ; and, as Glaucus now 
turned towards the witch, he perceived, for the first time, just 
under her seat, the bright gaze and crested head of a large 
snake. Whether it was the vivid colouring of the Athenian's 
cloak, thrown over the shoulders of lone, attacted the reptile's 
anger, its crest began to glow and rise, as if menacing and pre- 
paring itself to spring upon the Neapolitan. Glaucus caught 
quickly at one of the half-burned logs upon the hearth, and, as if 
enraged at the action, the snake came forth from its shelter, and 
with a loud hiss raised itself on end, till its height nearly approach- 
ed that of the Greek. 

"Witch!" cried Glaucus, "command thy creature, or thou 
wilt see it dead," 

" It has been despoiled of its venom !" said the witch, aroused 
at this threat ; but ere the words had left her lip, the snake had 
sprung upon Glaucus : quick and watchful, the agile Greek leapt 
lightly aside, and struck so fell and dexterous a blow on the head 
of the snake, that it fell prostrate and writhing among the embers 
of the fire. 

The hag sprang up, and stood confronting Glaucus with a face 
which would have befitted the fiercest of the Furies, so utterly dire 
and wrathful was its expression, yet even in horror and ghastli- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 191 

ness preserving the outline and trace of beauty, and utterly free 
from that coarse grotesque at which the imaginations of the North 
have sought the source of terror. 

" Thou hast," said she, in a low and steady voice, which be- 
lied the expression of her face, so much was it passionless and 
calm, " thou hast had shelter under my roof, and warmth at my 
hearth ; thou hast returned evil for good ; thou hast smitten and 
haply slain the thing that loved me and was mine ; nay, more, 
the creature, above all others, consecrated to gods and deemed 
venerable by man* now hear thy punishment. By the moon, 
who is the guardian of the sorceress by Orcus, who is the 
treasurer of wrath I curse thee ! and thou art cursed ! May 
thy love be blasted may thy name be blackened may the in- . 
fernals mark thee may thy heart wither and scorch may thy 
last hour recall to thee the prophet voice of the Saga of Vesu- 
vius ! And thou," she added, turning sharply towards lone, and 
raising her right arm, when Glaucus burst impetuously on her 
speech : 

" Hag!" cried he, " forbear ! Me thou hast cursed, and I com- 
mit myself to the gods ; I defy and scorn thee 1 But breathe but 
one word against yon maiden, and I will convert the oath on thy 
foul Hps to thy dying groan. Beware ! " 

" I have done," replied the hag, laughing wildly " for in thy 
doom is she who loves thee accursed. And not the less, that I 
heard her lips breathe thy name, and know by what word to com- 
mend thee to the demons. Glaucus, thou art doomed !" So say- 
ing, the witch turned from the Athenian, and kneeling down be- 
side her wounded favourite, which she dragged from the hearth, 
she turned to them her face no more. 

" O Glaucus !" said lone, greatly terrified, "what have we done? 
Let us hasten from this place ; the storm has ceased. Good mis- 
tress, forgive him, recall thy words he meant but to defend him- 
self accept this peace-offering to unsay the said ;" and lone, 
stooping, placed her purse on the hag's lap. 

" Away !" said she, bitterly "away ! The oath once woven, 
the Fates only can untie. Away !" 

" Come, dearest," said Glaucus, impatiently. " Thinkest thou 
that the gods above us or below hear the impotent ravings of 
dotage? Come!" 

Long and loud rang the echoes of the cavern with the dread 
laugh of the Saga. She deigned no further reply. 

" A peculiar sanctity was attached by the Romans (as indeed by, perhaps, 
every ancient people) to serpents, which they kept tame in their houses, and 
often introduced at their meals. 



192 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

The lovers breathed more freely when they gained the open 
air : yet the scene they had witnessed, the words and the laughter 
of the witch, still fearfully dwelt with lone, and even Glaucus 
could not thoroughly shake off the impression they bequeathed. 
The storm had subsided, save now and then a low thunder mut- 
tered at the distance amidst the darker clouds, or a momentary 
flash of lightning affronted the sovereignty of the moon. With 
some difficulty they regained the road, where they found the 
vehicle already sufficiently repaired for their departure, and the 
carrucarius calling loudly upon Hercules to tell him where his 
charge had vanished. 

Glaucus vainly endeavqured to cheer the exhausted spirits 
of lone ; and scarce less vainly to recover the elastic tone of 
his own natural gaiety. They soon arrived before the gate of 
the city : as it opened to them, a litter borne by slaves impeded 
the way. 

" It is too late for egress," cried the sentinel to the inmate of 
the litter. 

" Not so," said a voice, which the lovers started to hear; it 
was a voice they well recognised. " I am bound to the villa of 
Marcus Polybus. I shall return shortly. I am Arbaces the 
Egyptian." 

The scruples of him of the gate were removed, and the vehicle 
passed close beside the carriage that bore the lovers. 

"Arbaces, at this hour! scarce recovered too, methinks. 
Whither and for what can he leave the city?" said Glaucus. 

"Alas!" replied lone, bursting into tears, " my soul feels still 
more and more the omen of evil. Preserve us, O ye gods ! or at 
least," she murmured inly, " preserve my Glaucus!" 

CHAPTER X. 

THE LORD OF THE BURNING BELT AND HIS MINION. FATE 
WRITES HER PROPHECY IN RED LETTERS, BUT WHO SHALL 
READ THEM ? 

A RBACES had tarried only till the cessation of the tempest 
/A. allowed him, under cover of night, to seek the Saga of 
Vesuvius. Borne by those of his trustier slaves in whom in all 
more secret expeditions he was accustomed to confide, he lay ex- 
tended along his litter, and resigning his sanguine heart to the 
contemplation of vengeance gratified and love possessed. The 
slaves in so short a journey moved very little slower than the 
ordinary pace of mules ; and Arbaces soon arrived at the com- 
mencement of a narrow path, which the lovers had not been for- 
tunate enough to discover ; but which, skirting the thick vines, led 



THE LAST DAYS Of POMPEII. 193 

at once to the habitation of the witch. Here he arrested the lit- 
ter ; and bidding his slaves conceal themselves and the litter 
among the vines from the observation of any chance passenger, 
he mounted alone, with steps still feeble, but supported by a long 
staff, the drear and sharp ascent. 

Not a drop of rain fell from the tranquil heaven ; but the 
moisture dripped mournfully from the laden boughs of the vine, 
and now and then collected in tiny pools in the crevices and 
hollows of the rocky way. 

" Strange passions these for a philosopher," thought Arbaces, 
" that lead one like me, just new from the bed of death, and 
lapped even in health amidst the roses of luxury, across such 
nocturnal paths as this but Passion and Vengeance treading 
to their goal can make an Elysium of a Tartarus." High, clear, 
and melancholy shone the moon above the road of that dark way- 
farer, glassing himself in every pool that lay before him, and 
sleeping in shadow along the sloping mount. He saw before 
him the same light that had guided the steps of his intended vic- 
tims, but no longer contrasted by the blackened clouds, it shone 
less redly clear. 

He paused, as at length he approached the mouth of the cavern, 
to recover breath ; and then, with his wonted collected and stately 
mien, he crossed the unhallowed threshold. 

The fox sprang up at the ingress of this new comer, and by a 
long howl announced another visitor to his mistress. 

The witch had resumed her seat, and her aspect of grave-like 
and grim repose. By her feet, upon a bed of dry weeds which half 
covered it, lay the wounded snake ; but the quick eye of the Egyp- 
tian caught its scales glittering in the reflected light of the oppo- 
site fire, as it writhed now contracting, now lengthening, its 
folds, in pain and unsated anger. 

" Down, slave !" said the witch, as before, to the fox ; and, as 
before, the animal dropped to the ground mute, but vigilant. 

"Rise, servant of Nox and Erebus!" said Arbaces, com- 
mandingly ; "a superior in thine art salutes thee! rise and wel- 
come him." 

At these words the hag turned her gaze upon the Egyptian's 
towering form and dark features. She looked long and fixedly 
upon him, as he stood before her in his oriental robe, and folded 
arms, and steadfast and haughty brow. " Who art thou !" she 
said at last, " that callest thyself greater in art than the Saga of 
the Burning Fields, and the daughter of the perished Etrurian 
race?" 

" I am he," answered Arbaces, "from whom all cultivation of 
magic from north to south, from east to west, from the Ganges 

M 



194 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

and the Nile to the vales of Thessaly and the shores of the yellow 
Tiber have stooped to learn." 

" There is but one such man in these places," answered the 
witch, "whom the men of the outer world, unknowing his higher 
attributes and more secret fame, call Arbaces the Egyptian ; to us 
of a higher nature and deeper knowledge, his rightful appellation 
is Hermes of the Burning Girdle." 

" Look again," returned Arbaces ; " I am he." 

As he spoke, he drew aside his robe, and revealed a cincture 
seemingly of fire, that burnt around his waist, clasped in the 
centre by a plate, wherein was engraven some sign apparently 
vague and unintelligible, but which was evidently not unknown 
to the Saga. She rose hastily, and threw herself at the feet 
of Arbaces. " I have seen, then," said she, in a voice of deep 
humility, "the Lord of the Mighty Girdle vouchsafe my 
homage." 

" Rise," said the Egyptian ; " I have have need of thee." 

So saying, he placed himself on that same log of wood on 
which lone had rested before, and moticned to the witch to 
resume her seat. 

"Thou sayest," said he, as she obeyed, "that thou art a 
daughter of the ancient Etrurian* tribes ; the mighty walls of 
whose rock-built cities yet frown above the robber race that hath 
seized upon their ancient reign. Partly came those tribes from 
Greece, partly were they exiles from a more burning and prime- 
val soil. In either case art thou of Egyptian lineage, for the 
Grecian masters of the aboriginal helot were among the restless 
sons whom the Nile banished from her bosom. Equally then, O 
Saga ! art thou of ancestors that swore allegiance to mine own. 
By birth as by knowledge art thou the subject of Arbaces. Hear 
me, then, and obey!" 

The witch bowed her head. 

"Whatever art we possess in sorcery," continued Arbaces, 
" we are sometimes driven to natural means to attain our object. 
The ring and the crystal, the ashes and the herbs, do not give 
unerring divinations ; neither do the higher mysteries of the 
moon yield even the possessor of the girdle a dispensation 
from the necessity of employing ever and anon human measures 
for a human object. Mark me, then. Thou art deeply skilled, 
methinks, in the secrets of the more deadly herbs ; thou knowest 
those which arrest life, which burn and scorch the soul from 



* The Etrurians, it. may be superfluous to mention, were celebrated for 
their enchantments. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 19$ 

put her citadel, or freeze the channels of young blood into that 
ice which no sun can melt. Do I overrate thy skill ? Speak, and 
truly !" 

" Mighty Hermes, such lore is indeed mine own. Deign to 
look atthese ghostly and corpse-like features ; they have waned 
from the hues of life merely by watching over the rank herbs 
which simmer night and day in yon cauldron." 

The Egyptian moved his seat from so unblessed or so un- 
healthful a vicinity as the witch spoke. 

" It is well," said he; " thou hast learnt that maxim of all the 
deeper knowledge which saith, ' Despise the body to make wise 
the mind.' But to thy task : there cometh to thee by to-mor- 
row's starlight a vain maiden, seeking of thine art a love-charm 
to fascinate from another the eyes that should utter but soft tales 
to her own ; instead of thy philtres, give the maiden one of thy 
most powerful poisons. Let the lover breathe his vows to the 
Shades." 

The witch trembled from head to foot. 

"Oh pardon! pardon! dread master," said she, falteringly ; 
"but this I dare not. The law in these cities is sharp and vigi- 
lant ; they will seize, they will slay me." 

"For what purpose, then, thy herbs and thy potions, vain 
Saga?" said Arbaces, sneeringly. 

The witch hid her loathsome face with her hands. 

"Oh ! years ago," said she, in a voice unlike her usual tones, 
so plaintive was it, and so soft, " I was not the thing that I am 
now I loved, I fancied myself beloved. " 

"And what connection hath thy love, witch, with my com- 
mand?" said Arbaces, impetuously. 

'Patience," resumed the witch; "patience, I implore. I 
loved. Another and less fair than I yes, by Nemesis ! less fair 
allured from me my chosen. I was of that dark Etrurian tribe 
to whom most of all were known the secrets of the gloomier 
magic. My mother was herself a saga ; she shared the resent- 
ment of her child ; from her hands I received the potion that was 
to restore me his love ; and from her, also, the poison that was 
to destroy my rival. Oh, crush me, dread walls ! my trembling 
hands mistook the phials my lover fell indeed at my feet, but, 
dead! dead! Since, then, what has been life to me? I became 
suddenly old, I devoted myself to the sorceries of my race : still, 
by an irresistible impulse, I curse myself with an awful penance ; 
still I seek the most noxious herbs ; still I concoct the poisons ; 
still I imagine that I am to give them to my hated rival ; still 
I pour them into the phial ; still I fancy that they shall blast 
her beauty to the dust ; still I wake and see the quivering body, 



196 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the foaming lips, the glazing eyes of my Aulus murdered, and 
by me." 

The skeleton frame of the witch shook beneath strong con- 
vulsions. 

Arbaces gazed upon her with a curious though contemptuous 
eye. 

" And this foul thing has yet human emotions," thought he ; 
"she still cowers over the ashes of the same fires that consumes 
Arbaces ! Such are we all ! Mystic is the tie of those mortal pas- 
sions that unite the greatest and the least." 

He did not reply till she had somewhat recovered herself, and 
now sat rocking herself to and fro in her seat, with glassy eyes, 
fixed on the opposite flame, and large tears rolling down her 
livid cheeks. 

"A grievous tale is thine in truth," said Arbaces ; "but these 
emotions are fit only for our youth ; age should harden our hearts 
to all things but ourselves : as every year adds a scale to the shell- 
fish, so should each year wall and encrust the heart. Think of 
those frenzies no more. And now, listen to me again. By the 
revenge that was dear to thee. I command thee to obey me ; it is 
for vengeance that I seek thee 1 This youth, whom I would sweep 
from my path, has crossed me, despite my spells ; this .thing of 
purple and broidery, of smiles and glances, soulless and mindless, 
with no charm but that of beauty accursed be it! this insect, 
this Glaucus I tell thee, by Orcus and by Nemesis, he must 
die!" 

And working himself up at every word, the Egyptian, forgetful 
of his debility, of his strange companion, of everything but his 
own vindictive rage, strode witfo large and rapid steps the gloomy 
cavern. 

" Glaucus ! saidst thou, mighty master?" said the witch, ab- 
ruptly ; and her dim eye glared at the name with all that fierce re- 
sentment at the memory of small affronts so common amongst 
the solitary and the shunned. 

" Ay, so he is called ; but what matter the name? Let it not 
be heard as that 01 a living man three days from this date !" 

" Hear me," said the witch, breaking from. a short reverie into 
which she was plunged after this last sentence of the Egyptian 
" Hear me ! I am thy thing and thy slave ; spare me ' If I give to 
the maiden thou speakest of that which would destroy the life 01 
Glaucus, I shall be surely detected ; the dead ever find avengers. 
Nay, dread man ! if thy visit to me be tracked, if thy hatred to 
Glaucus be known, thou mayest have need of thy archest magic 
to protect thyself 1" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 197 

" Ha !" said Arbaces, stopping suddenly short ; and as a proof 
of that blindness with which passion darkens the eyes even of the 
most acute, this was the first time when the risk that he himself 
ran by this method of vengeance had occurred to a mind ordin- 
arily wary and circumspect. 

"But," continued the witch, "if, instead of that which shall 
arrest the heart, I give that which shall seer and blast the brain ; 
which shall make him who quaffs it unfit for the uses and cares 
of life an abject, raving, benighted thing smiting sense to drivel- 
ling, youth to dotage will not thy vengeance be equally sated, 
thy object equally attained ?" 

" Oh, witch ! no longer the servant, but the sister, the equal of 
Arbaces, how much brighter is woman's wit, even in vengeance, 
than ours ! how much more exquisite than death is such a 
doom ! " 

"And," continued the hag, gloating over her fell scheme, " in 
this is but little danger ; for by ten thousand methods, which 
men forbear to seek, can our victim become mad. He may have 
been among the vines and seen a nymph,* or the vine itself may 
have had the same effect ha, ha ! they never inquire too scrupu- 
lously into these matters, in which the gods may be agents. And 
let the worst arrive let it be known that it is a love-charm why, 
madness is a common effect of philtres ; and even the fair she that 
gave it finds indulgence in the excuse. Mighty Hermes, have I 
ministered to thee cunningly?" 

" Thou shall have twenty years' longer date for this," returned 
Arbaces. " I will write anew the epoch of thy fate on the face of 
the pale stars ; thou shall not serve in vain the Master of the 
Flaming Belt. And here, Saga, carve thee out, by these golden 
tools, a warmer cell in this dreary cavern one service to me 
shall countervail a thousand divinations by sieve and shears to 
the gaping rustics." So saying, he cast upon the floor a heavy 
purse, which chinked not unmusically to the ear of the hag, who 
loved the consciousness of possessing the means to purchase com- 
forts she disdained. " Farewell ! " said Arbaces, "fail not out- 
watch the stars in concocting thy beverage ; thou shall lord it over 
thy sislers at the Walnut-tree.f when ihou tellest them that thy 
patron and thy friend is Hermes the Egyptian. To-morrow night 
we meet again." 



To see a nymph was to become mad, according to classic and popular 
superstition. 

+ The celebrated and immemorial rendezvous of the witches at Benevento. 
The winged serpent attached to it, long an object of idolatry in those parts, 
was probably consecrated by Egyptian superstitions. 



198 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

He stayed not to hear the valediction or the thanks of the witch ; 
with a quick step he passed into the moon-lit air, and hastened 
down the mountain. 

The witch, who followed his steps to the threshold, stood long 
at the entrance of the cavern, gazing fixedly on his receding 
form ; and as the sad moonlight streamed upon her shadowy 
form and death-like face, emerging from the dismal rocks, it 
seemed as if one gifted indeed by supernatural magic had 
escaped from the dreary Orcus ; and the foremost of its ghostly 
throng stood at its black portals vainly summoning his return, 
or vainly sighing to rejoin him. The hag then slowly re-entering 
the cave, picked groaningly up the heavy purse, took the lamp 
from its stand, and, passing to the remotest depth of her cell, a 
black and abrupt passage, which was not visible, save at a near 
approach, closed round as it was with jutting and sharp crags, 
yawned before her ; she went several yards along this gloomy 
path, which sloped gradually downwards, as if towards the bowels 
of the earth, and, lifting a stone, deposited her treasure in a hole 
beneath, which, as the lamp pierced its secrets, seemed already to 
contain coins of various value, wrung from the credulity or grati- 
tude of her visitors. 

" I love to look at you," said she, apostrophising the moneys ; 
"for when I see you I feel that I am indeed of power. And I 
am to have twenty years' longer life to increase your store ! O 
thou great Hermes !" 

She replaced the stone, and continued her path onward for 
some paces, when she stopped before a deep irregular fissure in 
the earth. Here, as she bent strange, rumbling, hoarse, and 
distant sounds might be heard ; while ever and anon, with a loud 
and grating noise which, to use a homely but faithful simile, 
seemed to resemble the grinding of steel upon wheels, volumes of 
steaming and dark smoke issued forth, and rushed spirally along 
the cavern. 

"The Shades are noisier than their wont," said the hag, shak- 
ing her grey locks ; and looking into the cavity, she beheld, far 
down, glimpses of a long streak of light, intensely, but darkly red. 
"Strange !" she said, " shrinking back ; " it is only within the last 
two days that dull, deep light hath been visible what can it por- 
tend?" 

The fox, who had attended the steps of his mistress fell, 
uttered a dismal howl, and ran cowering back to the inner 
cave ; a cold shuddering seized the hag herself at the cry of the 
animal, which, causeless as it seemed, the superstitious of the 
time considered deeply ominous. She muttered her placatory 
charm, and tottered back into her cavern, where, amidst her 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 199 

herbs and incantations, she prepared to execute the orders of 
the Egyptian. 

" He called me dotard," said she, as the smoke curled from the 
hissing cauldron : " when the jaws drop, and the grinders fall, and 
the heart scarce beats, it is a pitiable thing to dote ; but when," 
. she added, with a savage and exulting grin, " the young, and the 
beautiful, and the strong are suddenly smitten into idotcy, ah, that 
is terrible ! Burn flame simmer herb swelter toad I cursed 
him, and he shall be cursed !" 

On that night, and at the same hour which witnessed the dark 
and unholy interview between Arbaces and the Saga, Apaecides 
was baptised. 

CHAPTER XI. 

PROGRESS OF EVENTS. THE PLOT THICKENS. THE WEB IS 
WOVEN, BUT THE NET CHANGES HANDS. 

A ND you have the courage then, Julia, to seek the Witch of 
\ Vesuvius this evening ; in company, too, with that fearful 
man?" 

" Why, Nydia," replied Julia, timidly, " dost thou really think 
there is anything to dread? These old hags, with their enchanted 
mirrors, their trembling sieves, and their moon-gathered herbs, 
are, I imagine, but crafty impostors, who have learned, perhaps, 
nothing but the very charm for which I apply to their skill ; and 
which is drawn but from the knowledge of the field's herbs and 
simples. Wherefore should I dread?" 

" Dost thou not fear thy companion?" 

" What, Arbaces? By Dian, I never saw lover more courteous 
than that same magician ! And were he not so dark, he would be 
even handsome." 

Blind as she was, Nydia had the penetration to perceive 
that Julia's mind was not one that the gallantries of Arbaces 
were likely to terrify. She, therefore, disuaded her no more ; 
but nursed in her excited heart the wild and increasing desire 
to know if sorcery had indeed a spell to fascinate love to love. 

" Let me go with thee, noble Julia," said she at length : "my 
presence is no protection, but I should like to be beside thee to 
the last." 

"Thine offer pleases me much," replied the daughter of 
Diomed. "Yet how canst thou contrive it? we may not 
return until late they will miss thee." 

" lone is indulgent," replied Nydia. " If thou wilt permit me 
to sleep beneath thy roof, I will say that thou, an early patroness 
and friend, hast invited me to pass the day with thee, and sing 



200 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

thec my Thessalian songs ; her courtesy will readily grant to thce 
so ligh a boon." 

" Nay, ask for thyself," said the haughty Julia ; "/ stoop to 
request no favour from the Neapolitan." 

" Well, be it so. I will take my leave now ; make my request, 
which I know will be readily granted, and return shortly." 

" Do so ; and thy bed shall be prepared in my own chamber." 

With that, Nydia left the fair Pompeian. 

On her way back to lone she was met by the chariot of Glau- 
cus, on whose fiery and curveting steeds was riveted the gaze of 
the crowded street. 

He kindly stopped for a moment to speak to the flower-girl. 

" Blooming as thine own roses, my gentle Nydia ! and how is 
thy fair mistress? recovered, I trust, from the effects of the 
storm ?" 

" I have not seen her this morning," answered Nydia, 
" but " 

" But what? draw back the horses are too near thee." 

" But think you lone will permit me to pass the day with Julia, 
the daughter of Diomed ? She wishes it, and was kind to me 
when I had few friends." 

' ' The gods bless thy grateful heart ! I will answer for lone's 
permission." 

1 ' Then I may stay over the night and return to-morrow ?" said 
Nydia, shrinking from the praise she so little merited. 

"As thou and fair Julia please. Commend me to her; and, 
hark ye, Nydia, when thou nearest her speak, note the contrast 
of her voice with that of the silver- toned lone. Vale!" 

His spirits entirely recovered from the effect of the past night, 
his locks waving in the wind, his joyous and elastic heart bound- 
ing with every spring of his Parthian steeds, a very prototype of 
his country's god, full of youth and of love Glaucus was borne 
rapidly to his mistress. 

Enjoy while ye may the present ; who can read the future? 

As the evening darkened, Julia, reclined within her litter, which 
was capacious enough also to admit her blind companion, took 
her way to the rural baths indicated by Arbaces. To her natural 
levity of disposition, her enterprise brought less of terror than of 
pleasurable excitement ; above all, she glowed at the thought of 
her coming triumph over the hated Neapolitan. 

A small but gay group was collected round the door of the villa, 
as her litter passed by it to the private entrance of the baths 
apportioned to the women. 

" Methinks by this dim light," said one of the bystanders, " I 
recognise the slaves of Diomed." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 20 1 

" True, Clodius," said Sallust ; " it is probably the litter of his 
daughter Julia. She is rich, my friend ; why dost thou not proffer 
thy suit to her?" 

*" Why, I had once hoped that Glaucus would have married 
her. She does not disguise her attachment; and then, as he 
gambles freely and with ill success " 

" The sesterces would have passed to thee, wise Clodius. A 
wife is a good thing when it belongs to another man !" 

"But," continued Clodius, "as Glaucus is, I understand, to 
wed the Neapolitan, I think I must even try my chance with the 
rejected maid. After all, the lamp of Hymen will be gilt, and the 
vessel will reconcile one to the odour of the flame. I shall only 
protest, my Sallust, against Diomed's making thee trustee to his 
daughter's fortune."* 

"Ha! ha! let us within, my comissator ; the wine and the 
garlands wait us." 

Dismissing her slaves to that part of the house set apart for 
their entertainment, Julia entered the baths with Nydia, and de- 
clining the offers of the attendants, passed by a private door into 
the garden behind. 

" She comes by appointment, be sure," said one of the slaves. 

"What is that to thee?" said a superintendent, sourly; 
" she pays for the baths, and does not waste the saffron. Such 
appointments are the best part of the trade. Hark ! do you 
not hear the widow Fulvia clapping her hands? Run, fool 
run !" 

Julia and Nydia, avoiding the more public part of the garden, 
arrived at the place specified by the Egyptian. In a small circu- 
lar plot of grass, the stars gleamed upon the statue of Silenus : 
the merry god reclined upon a fragment of rock, the lynx of Bac- 
chus at his feet, and over his mouth he held, with extended arm, 
a bunch of grapes, which he seemingly laughed to welcome ere 
he devoured. 

"I see not the magician," said Julia, looking round; when, 
as she spoke, the Egyptian slowly emerged from the neigh- 
bouring foliage, and the light fell palely over his sweeping robes. 

"Salve, sweet maiden! but ha! whom hast thou here? we 
must have no companions !" 

" It is but the blind flower-girl, wise magician," replied Julia ; 
" herself a Thessalian." 

* It was an ancient Roman law, that no one should make a woman his 
heir. This law was evaded by the parent's assigning his fortune to a 
friend in trust for his daughter, but the trustee might keep it if he 
liked. The law had, however, fallen into disuse before the date of this 
Story. 



202 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Oh, Nydia !" said the Egyptian ; " I know her well." 

Nydia drew back and shuddered. 

" Thou hast been at my house, methinks," said he, approach- 
ing his voice to Nydia 's ear ; ' ' thou knowest the oath ! Silence 
and secrecy, now as then, or beware !" 

"Yet, "he added, musingly to himself, " why confide more than 
is necessary, even in the blind? Julia, canst thou trust thyself 
alone with me ? Believe me, the magician is less formidable than 
he seems." 

As he spoke, he gently drew Julia aside. 

" The witch loves not many visitors at once," said he; " leave 
Nydia here till your return ; she can be of no assistance to us ; 
and, for protection, your own beauty suffices ; your own beauty 
and your own rank. Yes, Julia, I know thy name and birth. 
Come ! trust thyself with me, fair rival of the youngest of the 
Naiads !" 

The vain Julia was not, as we have seen, easily affrighted ; she 
was moved by the flattery of Arbaces, and she readily consented 
to suffer Nydia to await her return ; nor did Nydia press her pre- 
sence. At the sound of the Egyptian's voice, all her terror of him 
seemed to return ; she felt a sentiment of pleasure at learning she 
was not to travel in his companionship. 

She returned to the house, and in one of the private chambers, 
waited their return. Many and bitter were the thoughts of this 
wild girl as she sat there in her eternal darkness. She thought of 
her own desolate fate, far from her native land, far from the bland 
' cares that once assuaged her April sorrows of childhood ; deprived 
of the light of day, with none but strangers to guide her steps ; 
accursed by the one soft feeling of her heart, loving and without 
hope, save the dim and unholy ray which shot across her mind, as 
her Thessalian fancies questioned of the force of spells and the 
gift of magic ! 

Nature had sown in the heart of this poor girl the seeds of 
virtue never destined to ripen. The lessons of adversity are not 
always salutary ; sometimes they soften and amend, but as often 
they indurate and pervert. If we consider ourselves more harshly 
treated by fate than those around us, and do not acknowledge in 
our own deeds the equity of the severity, we become too apt to 
deem the world our enemy, to case,ourselves in defiance, to wrestle 
against our softer self, and to indulge the darker passions which 
are so easily fermented by the sense of injustice. Sold early into 
slavery, sentenced to a sordid task-master, exchanging her situa- 
tion only yet more to embitter her lot the kindlier feelings natur- 
ally profuse in the breast of Nydia, were nipped and blighted. 
Her sense of right and wrong was confused by a passion to which 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 203 

she had so madly surrendered herself ; and the same intense and 
tragic emotions which we read of in the women of the classic age 
a Myrrha, a Medea, and which hurried and swept away the 
whole soul when once delivered to love ruled and rioted in her 
breast. 

Time passed ; a light step entered the chamber where Nydia 
yet indulged her gloomy meditations. 

" Oh ! thanked be the immortal gods !" said Julia, " I have re- 
turned, I have left that terrible cavern ! Come, Nydia, let us away 
forthwith !" 

It was not till they were seated in the litter that Julia again 
spoke. 

"Oh !" said she, tremblingly; "such a scene ! such fearful in- 
cantations ! and the dead face of the hag ! But let us talk not of 
it ! I have obtained the potion ; she pledges its effect ! My rival 
shall be suddenly indifferent to his eye ; and I, I alone, the idol 
of Glaucus I" 

" Glaucus !" exclaimed Nydia. 

"Ay ! I told thee, girl, at first, that it was not the Athenian 
whom I loved. But I see now that I may trust thee wholly ; it is 
the beautiful Greek !" 

What then were Nydia's emotions ! She had connived, she 
had assisted in tearing Glaucus from lone ; but only to trans- 
fer, by all the power of magic, his affections yet more hope- 
lessly to another. Her heart swelled almost to suffocation ; 
she gasped for breath. In the darkness of the vehicle, Julia 
did not perceive the agitation of her companion ; she went on 
rapidly dilating on the promised effect of her acquisition, and 
on her approaching triumph over lone, every now and then ab- 
ruptly digressing to the horror of the scene she had quitted the 
unmoved mien of Arbaces, and his authority over the dreadful 
Saga. 

Meanwhile Nydia recovered her self-possession. A thought 
flashed across her ; she slept in the chamber of Julia she might 
possess herself of the potion. 

They arrived at the house of Diomed, and descended to Julia's 
apartment, where the night's repast awaited them. 

" Drink, Nydia, thou must be cold ; the air was chill to-night. 
As for me, my veins are yet ice. " 

And Julia unhesitatingly quaffed deep draughts of the spiced 
wine. 

" Thou hast the potifn," said Nydia ; " let me hold it in my 
hands. How small the phial is ! Of what colour is the draught ? ' 

"Clear as crystal," replied Julia, as she retook the philtre; 
" thou couldst not tell it from this water. The witch assures me 



204 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

it is tasteless. Small though the phial, it suffices for a life's fidelity: 
it is to he poured into any liquid ; and Glaucus will only know 
what he has quaffed by the effect." 

" Exactly like this water in appearance." 

" Yes, sparkling and colourless as this. How bright it seems ! 
it is as the very essence of moonlit dews. Bright thing ! how thou 
shinest on my hopes through thy crystal vase! " 

" And how is it sealed ?" 

" But by one little'stopper withdraw it now the draught gives 
no odour. Strange, that that which speaks to neither sense, should 
thus command all !" 

' ' Is the effect instantaneous ?" 

"Usually; but sometimes it remains dormant for a few 
hours. ' ' 

" Oh, how sweet this perfume!" said Nydia, suddenly, as she 
took up a small bottle on the table, and bent over its fragrant 
contents. 

' ' Thinkest thou so ? The bottle is set with gems of some 
value. Thou wouldst not have the bracelet yester morn, wilt 
thou take the bottle?" 

" It ought to be such perfumes as these that should remind one 
who cannot see of the generous Julia. If the bottle be not too 
costly " 

" Oh ! I have a thousand costlier ones ; take it, child !" 

Nydia bowed her gratitude, and placed the bottle in her vest. 

"And the draught would be equally efficacious, whoever ad- 
ministers it?'' 

" If the most hideous hag beneath the sun bestowed it, such is 
its asserted virtue, that Glaucus would deem her beautiful, and 
none but her!" 

Julia, warmed by wine and the reaction of her spirits, was 
now all animation and delight ; she laughed loud, and talked 
on a hundred matters ; nor was it till the night had advanced 
far towards morning that she summoned her slaves, and un- 
dressed. 

When they were dismissed, she said to Nydia 

" I will not suffer this holy draught to quit my presence till the 
hour comes for its uses. Lie under my pillow, bright spirit, and 
give me happy dreams!" 

So saying, she placed the potion under her pillow. Nydia's 
heart beat violently. 

" Why dost thou drink that unmixed jjater, Nydia? Take the 
wine by its side." 

" I am fevered," replied the blind girl, "and the water cools 
me. I will place this bottle by my bed-side; it refreshes in 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 205 

these summer nights, when the dews of sleep fall not on our 
lips. Fair Julia, I must leave thee very early, so lone bids, per- 
haps before thou art awake : accept, therefore, now my congratu- 
lations*" 

" Thanks ; when next we meet, you may find Glauctis at my 
feet." 

They had retired to their couches, and Julia, worn out by the 
excitement of the day, soon slept; but anxious and burning 
thoughts rolled over the mind of the wakeful Thessalinn. She 
listened to the calm breathing of Julia ; and her ear accustomed 
to the finest shades of sound, speedily assured her of the deep 
slumber of her companion. 

" Now, befriend me, Venus" said she, softly. 

She rose gently, and poured the perfume from the gift of Julia 
upon the marble floor ; she rinsed it several times carefully with 
the water that was beside her, and then easily finding the bed of 
Julia (for night to her was as day), she pressed her trembling 
hand under the pillow and seized the potion. Julia stirred not, 
her breath regularly fanned the burning cheek of the blind girl. 
Nydia, then, opening the phial, poured its contents into the bot- 
tle, which easily contained them ; and then refilling the former 
reservoir of the potion with that limpid water which Julia had 
assured her it so resembled, she once more placed the phial in its 
former place. She then stole again to her couch, and waited 
with what thoughts ! the dawning day. 

The sun had risen ; Julia slept still. Nydia noiselessly dressed 
herself, placed her treasure carefully in her vest, took up her staff, 
and hastened to quit the house. 

The porter, Medon, saluted her kindly as she descended the 
steps that led to the street. She heard him not ; her mind was 
confused and lost in the whirl of tumultuous thoughts, each 
thought a passion. She felt the pure morning air upon her cheek, 
but it cooled not her scorching veins. 

" Glaucus," she murmured, "all the love-charms of the wildest 
magic could not make thee love me as I love thee. lone ! ah, 
away hesitation ! away remorse ! Glaucus, my fate is in thy 
smile ; and thine ! O hope ! O joy ! O transport ! thy fate is in 
these hands !" 




206 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 
BOOK 7 HE FOURTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

REFLECTIONS ON THE ZEAL OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS. TWO 
MEN COME TO A PERILOUS RESOLVE. WALLS HAVE EARS, 
PARTICULARLY SACRED WALLS ! 

WHOEVER regards the early history of Christianity, will 
perceive how necessary to its triumph was that fierce 
spirit of zeal, which, fearing no danger, accepting no com- 
promise, inspired its champions and sustained its martyrs. In a 
dominant Church the genius of intolerance betrays its cause ; in 
a weak and persecuted Church the same genius mainly supports. 
It was necessary to scorn, to loathe, to abhor the creeds of other 
men, in order to conquer the temptations which they presented ; 
it was necessary rigidly to believe not only that the Gospel was 
the true faith, but the sole true faith that saved, in order to nerve 
the disciple to the austerity of its doctrine, and to encourage him 
to the sacred and perilous chivalry of converting the Polytheist 
and the Heathen. The sectarian sternness which confined virtue 
and heaven to a chosen few, which saw demons in other gods, 
and the penalties of hell in another religion made the believer 
naturally anxious to convert all to whom he felt the ties of human 
affection ; and the circle thus traced by benevolence to man, was 
yet more widened by a desire for the glory of God. It was for 
the honour of the Christian faith that the Christian boldly forced 
his tenets upon the scepticism of some, the repugnance of others, 
the sage contempt of the philosopher, the pious shudder of the 
people ; his very intolerance supplied him with his fittest instru- 
ments of success ; and the soft heathen began at last to imagine 
there must indeed be something holy in a zeal wholly foreign to 
his experience, which stopped at no obstacle, dreaded no danger, 
and even at the torture, or on the scaffold, referred a dispute, far 
other than the calm differences of speculative philosophy, to the 
tribunal of an Eternal Judge. It was thus that the same 
fervour which made the Christian of the middle age a bigot with- 
out mercy, made the Christian of the early days a hero without 
fear. 

Of these more fiery, daring, and earnest natures, not the least 
ardent was Olinthus. No sooner had Apaecides been received by 
the rites of baptism into the bosom of the Church, than the Naza- 
rene hastened to make him conscious of the impossibility to retain 
the office and robes of priesthood. He could not, it was evident, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 207 

profess to worship God, and continue even outwardly to honour 
the idolatrous altars of the Fiend. 

Nor was this all : the sanguine and impetuous mind of Olin- 
thus beheld in the power of Apaecides the means of divulging to 
the deluded people the juggling mysteries of the oracular Isis. 
He thought Heaven had sent this instrument of its design in 
order to disabuse the eyes of the crowd, and prepare the way, 
perchance, for the conversion of a whole city. He did not hesitate 
then to appeal to all the new-kindled enthusiasm of Apascides, 
to arouse his courage, and to stimulate his zeal. They met, 
according to previous agreement, the evening after the baptism, 
of Apaecides, in the grove of Cybele, which we have before 
described. 

"At the next solemn consultation of the oracle," said Olin- 
thus, as he proceeded in the warmth of his address, "advance 
yourself to the railing, proclaim aloud to the people the decep- 
tion they endure, invite them to enter, to be themselves the wit- 
ness of the gross but artful mechanism of imposture thou hast 
described to me. Fear not ! the Lord, who protected Daniel, 
shall, protect thee ; -we, the community of Christians, will be 
amongst the crowd ; we will urge on the shrinking : and in the 
first flush of the popular indignation and shame, I, myself, upon 
those very altars, will plant the palm-branch typical of the Gospel 
and to my tongue shall descend the rushing Spirit of the living 
God." 

Heated and excited as he was, this suggestion was not unpleas- 
ing to Apaecides. He was rejoiced at so early an opportunity of 
distinguishing his faith in his new sect, and to his holier feelings 
were added those of vindictive loathing at the imposition he had 
himself suffered, and a desire to avenge it. In that sanguine and 
elastic overbound of obstacles (a necessary blindness to all who 
undertake venturous and lofty actions), neither Olinthus nor the 
proselyte perceived all the difficulties to the success of their 
scheme, which might be found in the reverent superstition of the 
people themselves, who would probably be loth, before the 
sacred altars of the great Egyptian goddess, to believe even the 
testimony of her priest against her power. 

Apaecides, then, assented to this proposal with a readiness 
which delighted Olinthus. They parted with the understanding 
that Olinthus should confer with the more important of his 
Christian brethren on this great enterprise, should receive their 
advice and the assurances of their support on the eventful day. 
It so chanced that one of the festivals of Isis was to be held on the 
second day after this conference. The festival proffered a ready 
occasion for the design. They appointed to meet once more on 



208 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the next evening at the same spot ; and in that meeting was 
finally to be settled the order and details of the disclosure for the 
following day. 

It happened that the latter part of this conference had been 
held near the sacellum, or small chapel, which I have described 
in the earlier part of this work ; and so soon as the forms of the 
Christian and the priest had disappeared from the grove, a dark 
and ungainly figure emerged from behind the chapel. 

" I have tracked you with some effect, my brother flamen," said 
the eavesdropper ; "you, the priest of Isis, have not for mere idle 
discussion conferred with this gloomy Christian. Alas ! that I could 
not hear all your precious plot. Enough ! I find, at least, that 
you meditate revealing the sacred mysteries, and that to-morrow 
you meet again at this place to plan the how and the when. May 
Osiris sharpen my ears then, to detect the whole of your unheard 
of audacity ! When I have learned more, I must confer at once 
with Arbaces. We will frustrate you, my friends, deep as you 
think yourselves. At present, my breast is a locked treasury of 
your secret." 

So saying, Calenus, for it was he, wrapped his robe round him, 
and strode thoughtfully homeward. 

CHAPTER II. 

A CLASSIC HOST, COOK, AND KITCHEN. AP^CIDES SEEKS 
TONE THEIR CONVERSATION. 

IT was then the day for Diomed's banquet to the most select 
J. of his friends. The graceful Glaucus, the beautiful lone, 
the official Pansa, the high-born Clodius, the imperial Fulvius, 
the exquisite Lepidus, the epicure Sallust, were not the only 
honourers of his festival. He expected, also, an invalid senator 
from Rome a man of considerable repute and favour at court 
and a great warrior from Herculaneum, who had fought with 
Titus against the Jews, and having enriched himself prodigiously 
in the wars, was always told by his friends that his country was 
eternally indebted to his disinterested exertions. The party, how- 
ever, extended to a yet greater number ; for although, critically 
speaking, it was, at one time, thought inelegant among the 
Romans to entertain less than three or more than nine at their 
banquets, yet this rule was easily disregarded by the ostentatious. 
And we are told, indeed, in history, that one of the most splendid 
of these entertainers usually feasted a select party of three hundred. 
Diomed, however, more modest, contented himself with doubling 
the number of the Muses. His party consisted of eighteen, no un- 
fashionable number in the present day. "The more the merrier," 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 209 

says the proverb. For my part, at a dinner, I have always found 
it exactly the reverse ! 

It was the morning of Diomed's banquet ; and Diomed him- 
self, though he greatly affected the gentleman and the scholar, 
retained enough of his mercantile experience to know that a 
master's eye makes a ready servant. Accordingly, with his tunic 
ungirdled on his portly stomach, his easy slippers on his feet, a 
small wand in his hand, wherewith he now directed the gaze, and 
now corrected the back, of some duller menial, he went from 
chamber to chamber of his costly villa. 

He did not disdain even a visit to that sacred apartment in 
which the priests of the festivals prepare their offerings. On 
entering the kitchen, his ears were agreeably stunned by the 
noise of dishes and pans, of oaths and commands. Small as 
this indispensable chamber seems to have been in all the houses 
of Pompeii, it was, nevertheless, usually fitted up with all that 
amazing variety of stoves and shapes, stewpans and saucepans, 
cutters and moulds, without which a cook of spirit, no matter 
whether he be an ancient or a modern, declares it utterly impos- 
sible that he can give you anything to eat. And as fuel was 
then, as now, dear and scarce in those regions, great seems to 
have been the dexterity exercised in preparing as many things as 
possible with as little fire. An admirable contrivance of this 
nature may be still seen in the Neapolitan Museum, viz., a port- 
able kitchen, about the size of a folio volume, containing stoves 
for four plats , and an apparatus for heating water or other bever- 
ages. It would be an excellent appendage to our modern 
cheap libraries, containing as much food for the bodies as they 
do for the mind ; with this difference, you would satisfactorily 
recur to the first work much more frequently than you would to 
the last. 

Across the small kitchen flitted many forms which the quick 
eye of the master did not recognise. 

"Oh! oh!" grumbled he to himself, "that cursed Congrio 
hath invited a whole legion of cooks to assist him. They 
won't serve for nothing, and this is another item in the total 
of my day's expenses. By Bacchus ! thrice lucky shall I be if 
the slaves do not help themselves to some of the drinking ves- 
sels ready, alas ! are their hands, capacious their tunics. Me 
miserum/" 

The cooks, however, worked on, seemingly heedless of the 
apparition of Diomed. 

" Ho, Euclio, your egg-pan ! What, is this the largest? it only 
holds thirty-three eggs : in the houses / usually serve, the smallest 
egg-pan holds fifty if need be I" 

N 



2iO THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" The unconscionable rogue." thought Diomed; " he talks of 
eggs as if they were a sesterce a hundred !" 

" By Mercury !" cried a pert little culinary disciple, scarce in 
his* noviciate ; "Who ever saw such antique sweetmeat shapes 
as these! it is impossible to do credit to one's art with such 
rude materials. Why, Sallust's commonest sweet-meat shape 
represents the whole siege of Troy ; Hector, and Paris, and 

Helen with little astyanax and the Wooden Horse into the 

bargain !" 

"Silence, fool!" said Congrio, the cook of the house, who 
seemed to leave the chief part of the battle to his allies ' ' my 
master, Diomed, is not one of those expensive good-for-noughts 
who must have the last fashion, cost what it will." 

"Thou liest, base slave!" cried Diomed, in a great passion, 
"and thou cosiest me already enough to have ruined Lucullus 
himself ! Come out of thy den, I want to talk to thee." 

The slave, with a sly wink at his confederates, obeyed the 
command. 

" Man of three letters,"* said Diomed, with a lace of solemn 
anger ; " how didst thou dare to invite all those rascals into my 
house? I see thief written in every line of their faces." 

" Yet, I assure you, master, that they are honest men of most 
respectable character the best cooks of the place. It is a great 
favour to get them ; but for my sake " 

' ' Thy sake ! unhappy Congrio, " interrupted Diomed ; ' ' and by 
what purloined moneys of mine, by what reserved filchings from 
marketing, by what goodly meats converted into grease, and sold 
in the suburbs, by what false charges for bronzes marred, and 
earthenware broken hast thou been enabled to make them serve 
thee for thy sake?'' 

"Nay, master, do not impeach my honesty; may the gods 
desert me if " 

" Swear not !" again interrupted the choleric Diomed; "for 
then the gods will smite thee for a perjurer, and I shall lose my 
cook on the eve of dinner. But, enough of this at present, keep 
a sharp eye on thy ill-favoured assistants, and tell me no tales 
to-morrow of vases broken, and cups miraculously vanished, or 
thy whole back shall be one pain. And hark thee ! thou knowest 
thou hast made me pay for those Phrygian attagens\ enough, by 
Hercules, to have feasted a sober man for a year together ; see 

The common witty objurgation, from the triliteral word " fur " (thief). 

+ The attagen of Phrygia or Ionia (the bird thus anglicised in the 
plural) was held in peculiar esteem by the Romans "Attagen carnis 
euavissimse " Athen. lib. ix. cap. 8 and 8). It was a little bigger than a 
partridge, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 2il 

that they be not one iota over-roasted. The last time, O Con- 
grio, that I gave a banquet to my friends, when thy vanity did 
so boldly undertake the becoming appearance of a Melian crane, 
thou knowest it came up like a stone from JEtna, as if all 
the fires of Phlegthon had been scorching out its juices. Be 
modest this time, Congrio wary and modest. Modesty is the 
nurse of great actions ; and in all other things, as in this, if thou 
wilt not spare thy master's purse, at least consult thy master's 
glory." 

' ' There shall not be such a ccena seen at Pompeii since the 
days of Hercules." 

"Softly, softly, thy cursed boasting again! But, I say, 
Congrio yon homununculus yon pigmy assailant of my cranes 
yon pert tongued neophyte of the kitchen was there ought 
but insolence on his tongue when he maligned the comeliness 
of my sweetmeat shapes ? I would not be out of the fashion, 
Congrio?" 

" It is but the custom of us cooks," replied Congrio, gravely, 
"to undervalue our tools, in order to increase the effect of our 
art. The sweetmeat shape is a fair shape, and a lovely ; but I 
would recommend my master, at the first occasion, to purchase 
some new ones of a " 

"That will suffice," exclaimed Diomed, who seemed resolved 
never to allow his slave to finish his sentences. " Now, resume 
thy charge shine eclipse thyself. Let men envy Diomed his 
cook. Let the slaves of Pompeii style thee Congrio the great ! 
Go yet stay thou hast not spent all the moneys I gave thee for 
the marketing?" 

"All/ alas! the nightingales' tongues and the Roman toma- 
cula.* and the oysters from Britian, and sundry other things, 
too numerous now to recite, are yet left unpaid for ; but what 
matter, every one trusts the Archimagirus\ of Diomed the 
wealthy !" 

" Oh ! unconscionable prodigal what waste ! what pro- 
fusion ! I am ruined but go, hasten ! inspect ! taste ! per- 
form ! surpass thyself ! Let the Roman senator not despise 
the poor Pompeian. Away, slave ! and remember the Phrygian 
attagens." 

The chief disappeared within his natural domain, and Diomed 
rolled back his portly presence to the more courtly chambers. 
All was to his liking the flowers were fresh the fountains 
played briskly the mosaic pavement were smooth as mirrors. 

" candiduli divina tomacula porci." Juvenal, z. 1. 355. A rich 

and delicate species of sausage. 
t Archimagirus wag the lofty title of the chief cook. 



212 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"Where is my daughter Julia?" he asked. 
"At the bath." 

"Ah! that reminds me! time wanes! and I must bathe 
also." 

Our story returns to Apsecides. On awaking that day from 
the broken and feverish sleep which had followed his adoption 
of a faith so strikingly and sternly at variance with that in which 
his youth had been nutured, the young priest could scarcely 
imagine that he was not yet in a dream ; he had crossed the 
fatal river the past was henceforth to have no sympathy with 
the future; the two worlds were distinct and separate, that 
which had been, from that which was to be. To what a bold 
and adventurous enterprise he had pledged his life to unveil the 
mysteries in which he had participated to desecrate the altars 
he had served to denounce the goddess whose ministering robe 
he wore ! Slowly he became sensible of the hatred and the hor- 
ror he should provoke amongst the pious, even if successful ; if 
frustrated in his daring attempt, what penalties might he not in- 
cur for an offence hitherto unheard of for which no specific law, 
deprived from experience, was prepared, and which, for that 
very reason, precedents, dragged from the sharpest armoury of 
obsolete and inaplicable legislation, would probably be distorted 
to meet ! His friends the sister of his youth could he expect 
justice, though he might receive compassion from them ? 
This brave and heroic act would by their heathen eyes be 
regarded, perhaps, as a heinous apostasy at the best, as a 
pitiable madness. 

He dared, he renounced, everything in this world in the 
hope of securing that eternity in the next which had so suddenly 
been revealed to him. While these thoughts on the one hand 
invaded his breast, on the other hand, his pride, his courage, 
and his virtue, mingled with reminiscences of revenge for deceit, 
of indignant disgust at fraud, conspired to raise and to support 
him. 

The conflict was sharp and keen ; but his new feelings 
triumphed over his old: and a mighty argument in favour of 
wrestling with the sanctities of old opinions and hereditary forms 
might be found in the conquest over both achieved by that humble 
priest. Had the early Christians been more controlled by ' ' the 
solemn plausibilities of custom " less of democrats in the pure 
and lofty acceptation of that perverted word Christianity would 
have perished in its cradle ! 

As each priest in succession slept several nights together in the 
chambers of the temple, the term imposed on Apsecides was not 
yet completed ; and when he had risen from his couch, attired 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 213 

himself as usual in his robes, and left his narrow chamber, he 
found himself before the altars of the temple. 

In the exhaustion of his late emotions, he had slept far into 
the morning, and the vertical sun already poured its fervid beams 
over the sacred place. 

" Salve, Apaecides ! " said a voice, whose natural asperity was 
smoothed by long artifice into an almost displeasing softness of 
tone. " Thou art late abroad ; has the goddess revealed herself 
to thee in visions ?" 

" Could she reveal her true self to the people, Calenus, how 
incenseless would be these altars ! " 

1 ' That, ' ' replied Calenus, "may possibly be true ; but the deity 
is wise enough to hold commune with none but priests." 

" A time may come when she will be unveiled without her own 
acquiescence." 

" It is not likely ; she has triumphed for countless ages. And 
that which has so long stood the test of time rarely succumbs to 
the lust of novelty. But hark ye, young brother f these sayings 
are indiscreet." 

" It is not for thee to silence them," replied Apaecides, 
haughtily. 

"So hot! yet I will not quarrel with thee. Why, my Apae- 
cides, has not the Egyptian convinced thee of the necessity of 
our dwelling together in unity ? Has he not convinced thee of 
the wisdom of deluding the people and enjoying ourselves ? If 
not, oh ! brother, he is not that great magician he is esteemed." 

"Thou, then, hast shared his lessons?'' said Apaecides, with a 
hollow smile. 

"Ay ! but I stood less in need of them than thou. Nature had 
already gifted me with the love of pleasure, and the desire of gain 
and power. Long is the way that leads the voluptuary to the 
severities of life ; but it is only one step from pleasant sin to shelter- 
ing hypocrisy. Beware the vengeance of the goddess, if the short- 
ness of that step be disclosed !" 

" Beware, thou, the hour when the tomb shall be rent and the 
rottenness exposed," returned Apaecides, solemnly. " Vale!" 

With these words he left the flamen to his meditations. When 
he got a few paces from the temple, he turned to look back. 
Calenus had already disappeared in the entry room of the priests, 
for it now approached the hour of that repast which, called 
prandium by the ancients, answers in point of date to the 
breakfast of the moderns. The white and graceful fane gleamed 
brightly in the sun. Upon the altars before it rose the incense 
and bloomed the garlands. The priest gazed long and wistfully 



214 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

upon the scene ; it was the last time that it was ever beheld by 
him t 

He then turned, and pursued his way slowly towards the house 
of lone ; for before possibly the last tie that united them was cut 
in twain before the uncertain peril of the next day was incurred, 
he was anxious to see his last, surviving relative, his fondest as his 
earliest friend. 

He arrived at her house, and found her in the garden with 
Nydia. 

"This is kind, Apsecides," said lone, joyfully; "and how 
eagerly have I wished to see thee ! what thanks do I not owe thee. 
How churlish hast thou been to answer none of my letters ; to 
abstain from coming hither to receive the expressions of my grati- 
tude ! Oh, thou hast assisted to preserve thy sister from dishon- 
our. What, what can she say to thank thee, now that thou art 
come at last?" 

" My sweet lone, thou owest me no gratitude, for thy cause 
was mine. Let us avoid that subject, let us recur not to that 
impious man ; how hateful to both of us ! I may have a speedy 
opportunity to teach the world the nature of his pretended wis- 
dom and hypocritical severity. But let us sit down, my sister ; I 
am wearied with the heat of the sun ; let us sit in yonder shade, 
and, for a little while longer, be to each other what we have 
been." 

Beneath a wide plane-tree, with the cistus and the arbutus 
clustering round them, the living fountain before, the greensward 
beneath their feet ; the gay cicada, once so dear to Athens, rising 
merrily ever and anon amidst the grass ; the butterfly, beautiful 
emblem of the soul, dedicated to Psyche, and which has con- 
tinued to furnish illustrations to the Christian bard, rich in the 
glowing colours caught from Sicilian skies,* hovering above the 
sunny flowers, itself like a winged flower in this spot, and this 
scene, the brother and the sister sat together for the last time on 
earth. You may tread now on the same place ; but the garden 
is no more, the columns are shattered, the fountain has ceased to 
play. Let the traveller search among the ruins of Pompeii for 
the house of lone. It remains yet visible ; but I will not betray 
them to the gaze of commonplace tourists. He who is more 
sensitive than the herd will discover them easily : when he has 
done so, let him keep the secret. 

They sat down, and Nydia, glad to be alone, retired to the 
farther end of the garden. 

" lone, my sister," said the young convert, "place your hand 

* In Sicily are found, perhaps, the most beautiful varieties of the butterfly. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 215 

upon my brow ; let me feel your cold touch. Speak to me, too, 
for your gentle voice is like a breeze that hath freshness as well as 
music. Speak to me, but forbear to bless me! Utter not one 
word of those forms of speech which our childhood was taught to 
consider sacred !" 

"Alas ! and what then shall I say? our language of affection is 
so woven with <hat of worship, that the words grow chilled and 
trite if I banish from them allusion to our gods." 

"Our gods/" murmured Apaecides, with a shudder: "thou 
slightest my request already." 

" Shall I speak then only to thee of Isis ?" 

"The Evil Spirit! No; rather be dumb forever, unless at 

least thou canst But away away this talk I Not now will 

we dispute and cavil ; not now will we judge harshly of each 
other. Thou, regarding me as an apostate ! and I all sorrow and 
shame for thee as an idolater. No, my sister, let us avoid such 
topics and such thoughts. In thy sweet presence a calm falls 
over my spirit. For a little while I forget. As I thus lay my 
temples on thy bosom, as I thus feel thy gentle arm embrace me, 
I think that we are children once more, and that the heaven 
smiles equally upon both. For oh ! if hereafter I escape, no mat- 
ter what ordeal ! and it be permitted me to address thee on one 
sacred and awful subject ; should I find thine ear closed and thy 
heart hardened, what hope for myself could countervail the 
despair for thee? In thee, my sister, I behold a likeness made 
beautiful, made noble, of myself. Shall the mirror live for 
ever, and the form itself be broken as the potter's clay? Ah, no ! 
no ! thou wilt listen to me yet ! Dost thou remember how we 
went into the fields by Baiae, hand in hand together, to pluck 
the flowers of spring? Even so, hand in hand, shall we enter 
the Eternal Garden, and crown ourselves with imperishable 
asphodel !" 

Wondering and bewildered by words she could not compre- 
hend, but excited even to tears by the plaintiveness of their tone, 
lone listened to these outpourings of a full and oppressed heart. 
In truth, Apaecides himself was softened much beyond his ordin- 
ary mood, which to outward seeming was usually either sullen 
or impetuous. For the noblest desires are of a jealous nature ; 
they engross, they absorb the soul, and often leave the splenetic 
humours stagnant and unheeded at the surface. Unheeding the 
petty things around us, we are deemed morose ; impatient at 
earthly interruption to the diviner dreams, we are thought irritable 
and churlish. For, as there is no chimera vainer than the hope 
that one human heart shall find sympathy in another, so none ever 
interpret us with justice ; and none no, not our nearest and our 



216 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

dearest ties forbear with us in mercy ! When we are dead, and 
repentance comes too late, both friend and foe may wonder to 
think how little there was in us to forgive ! 

" I will talk to thee then of our early years," said lone. " Shall 
yon blind girl sing to thee of the days of childhood ? Her voice 
is sweet and musical, and she hath a song on that theme which 
contains none of those allusions it pains thee to rftar." 

" Dost thou remember the words, my sister?" asked Apascides. 

' ' Methinks yes ; for the tune, which is simple, fixed them on 
my memory." 

" Sing to me then thyself. My ear is not in unison with un- 
familiar voices ; and thine, lone, full of household associations, 
has ever been to me more sweet than all the hireling melodies of 
Lycia or of Crete. Sing to me !" 

lone beckoned to a slave that stood in the portico, and sending 
for her lute, sang, when it arrived, to a tender and simple air, the 
following verses : 

A EEQEET FOB CHHJ3HOOD. 

It is not that our earlier Heaven 

Escapes its April showers, 
Oi that to Childhood's heart is given 
No snake amidst the flowers. 

Ah 1 twined with grief 
Each brightest leaf 
That's wreath'd' us by the Hours I 
Young though we be, the Past may sting, 

The Present feed its sorrow; 
But Hope shines bright on every thing 
That waits us with the morrow. 
Lake sun-lit glades, 
The dimmest shades 
Some rosy beam can borrow. 
It is not that our later years 

Of cares are woven wholly ; 
Bat smiles less swiftly chase the tears, 
And wounds are healed more slowly. 
And Memory's TOW 
To lost ones now, 
Makes joys too bright, unholy. 
And ever fled the Ins-bow 

That smiled when clouds were o'er us ; 
If storms should burst, uncheered we go, 
A drearier waste before us ; 

And, with the toys 
Of childish joys, 
We've broke the staff that bore us ! 

Wisely and delicately had lone chosen that song, sad though 
its burthen seemed ; for when we are deeply mournful, discordant 
above all others is the voice of mirth ; the fittest spell is that 
borrowed from melancholy itself, for dark thoughts can be sof; 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 217 

ened down when they cannot be brightened ; and so they lose 
the precise and rigid outline of their truth, and their colours melt 
into the ideal. As the leech applies as a remedy to the internal 
sore some outward irritation, which, by a gentler wound, draws 
away the venom of that which is more deadly, thus, in the rank- 
ling festers of the mind, our art is to divert to a milder sadness 
on the surface the pain that gnaweth at the core. And so with 
Apaecides, yielding to the influence of the silver voice that remind- 
ed him of the past, and told but of half the sorrow born to the 
present, he forgot his more immediate and fiery sources of anxious 
thought. He spent hours in making lone alternately sing to and 
converse with him. . And when he rose to leave her, it was with a 
calmed and lulled mind. 

" lone," said he, as he pressed her hand, "should you hear my 
name blackened and maligned, will you credit the aspersion ?" 

' ' Never, my brother, never ! " 

" Dost thou not imagine, according to thy belief, that the evil- 
doer is punished hereafter, and the good rewarded?" 

" Can you doubt it?" 

" Dost thou think, then, that he who is truly good should sacri- 
fice every selfish interest in his zeal for virtue?" 

" He who doth so is the equal of the gods." 

" And thou believest that according to the purity and courage 
with which he thus acts, shall be his portion of bliss beyond the 
grave ?" 

" So are we taught to hope." 

"Kiss me, my sister. One question more Thou art to be 
wedded to Glaucus ; perchance that marriage may separate us 
more hopelessly but not of this speak I now ; thou art to be 
married to Glaucus, dost thou love him ? Nay my sister, answer 
me by words." 

" Yes !" murmured lone, blushing. 

' ' Dost thou feel that, for his sake, thou couldst renounce pride, 
brave dishonour, and incur death ? I have heard that when women 
really love, it is to that excess." 

" My brother, all this could I do for Glaucus, and feel that it 
were not a sacrifice. There is no sacrifice to those who love, in 
what is borne for the one we love." 

" Enough ! shall women feel thus for man, and man feel less 
devotion to his God?" 

He spoke no more his whole countenance seemed instinct 
and inspired with a divine life his chest swelled proudly his 
eyes glowed on his forehead was writ the majesty of a man 
who can dare be noble ! He turned to meet the eyes of 
Jone earnest, wistful, fearful ; he kissed her fondly, strained 



218 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

her warmly to his breast, and in a moment more he had left the 
house. 

Long did lone remain in the same place, mute and thoughtful. 
The maidens again and again came to warn her of the deepening 
noon, and her engagement to Diomed's banquet. At length, 
she woke from her reverie, and prepared not with the pride of 
beauty, but listless and melancholy for the festival : one thought 
alone reconciled her to the promised visit she should meet Glau- 
cus she could confide to him her alarm and uneasiness for her 
brother. 

Love ! there is one blessing that distinguishes above all others 
thy chaste and sacred ties from thy guilty and illicit the Eros 
from the Anteros ; to those alone whom we love without a crime, 
we impart the confidence of all our household and familiar cares. 
To the erring, love is only passion : there are but the mistress 
and the lover ! for the sinless, the bond embraces the fondness, 
the sanctity, and the faith of every other connection ! It was not 
in the mouth of Helen, but Andromache, that Homer put those 
touching words, so true in sentiment, from the eldest to the latest 
time 

" And while my Hector still survives, I see 
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee !" 

CHAPTER III. 

A FASHIONABLE PARTY AND A DINNER A LA MODE IN 
POMPEII. 

TV If EANWHILE Sallust and Glaucus were slowly strolling to- 
IVl wards the bouse of Diomed. Despite the habits of his 
life, Sallust was not devoid of many estimable qualities. He 
would have been an active friend, a useful citizen in short, an 
excellent man, if he had not taken it into his head to be a philoso- 
pher. Brought up in the schools in which Roman plagiarism 
worshipped the echo of Grecian wisdom, he had imbued himself 
with those doctrines by which the late Epicureans corrupted the 
simple maxims of their great master. He gave himself altogether 
up to pleasure, and imagined there was no sage like a boon com- 
panion. Still, however, he had a considerable degree of learn- 
ing, wit, and good nature ; and the hearty frankness of his very 
vices seemed like virtue itself beside the utter corruption of 
Clodius and the prostrate effeminacy of Lepidus ; and, there- 
fore, Glaucus liked him the best of his companions ; and he 
in turn, appreciating the noble qualities of the Athenian, loved 
him almost as much as a cold muraena, or a bowl of the best 
Falernian, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 219 

"This is a vulgar old fellow, this Diomed," said Sallust, " but 
he has some good qualities in his cellar." 
"And some charming ones in his daughter'" 
" True, Glaucus ; but you are not much moved by them, me- 
thinks. I fancy Clodius is desirous to be your successor." 

" He is welcome. At the banquet of her beauty, no guest, be 
sure, is considered a musca."* 

" You are severe ; but she has, indeed, something of the Corin- 
thian about her they will be well-matched after all ! what good- 
natured fellows we are to associate with that gambling good-for- 
nought!" 

" Pleasure unites strange varieties," answered Glaucus. " He 
amuses me " 

"And flatters ; but then he pays himself well ; he powders his 
praise with gold-dust." 

" You often hint that he plays unfairly think you so really?" 
" My dear Glaucus, a Roman noble has his dignity to keep up 
dignity is very expensive Clodius must cheat like a scoundrel, 
in order to live like a gentleman." 

" Ha! ha ! well, of late I have renounced the dice. Ah ! Sallust, 
when I am wedded to lone, I trust I may yet redeem a youth of 
follies. We are both born for better things than those in which 
we sympathise now born to render our worship in nobler tem- 
ples than the stye of Epicurus." 

"Alas!" returned Sallust, in rather a melancholy tone, 
" what do we know more than this, life is short, beyond the 
grave all is dark? There is no wisdom like that which says 
'enjoy.' " 

" By Bacchus ! I doubt sdmetimes if we do enjoy the utmost of 
which life is capable." 

" I am a moderate man," returned Sallust, " and do not ask 
'the utmost.' We are like malefactors, and intoxicate ourselves 
with wine and myrrh as we stand on the brink of death ; but if 
we did not do so, the abyss would look very disagreeable. I own 
that I was inclined to be gloomy, until I took so heartily to drink- 
ing that is a new life, my Glaucus." 

"Yes ; but it brings us next morning to a new death." 
"Why, the next morning is unpleasant, I own ; but then, if it 
were not so, one would never be inclined to read. I study betimes 
because, by the gods ! I am generally unfit for anything else 
till noon." 

" Fie, Scythian !" 

" Pshaw! the fate of Pentheus to him who denies Bacchus." 

* Unwelcome and uninvited guests were called muse*, or flies, 



220 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"Well, Sallust, with all your faults, you are the best profligate 
I ever met ; and verily, if I were in danger of life, you are the 
only man in all Italy who would stretch out a finger to save 
me." 

" Perhaps 7 should not, if it were in the middle of supper. But 
in truth, we Italians are fearfully selfish." 

" So are all men who are not free," said Glaucus, with a sigh. 
" Freedom alone makes men sacrifice to each other." 

" Freedom, then, must be a very fatiguing thing to an Epicu- 
rean," answered Sallust. " But here we are, at our host's." 

As Diomed's villa is one of the most considerable in point of 
size of any yet discovered at Pompeii, and is, moreover, built 
much according to the specific instructions for a suburban villa 
laid down by the Roman architect, it may not be uninteresting 
briefly to describe the plan of the apartments through which our 
visitors passed. 

They entered them by the same small vestibule at which we 
have before been presented to the aged Medon, and passed at 
once into a colonnade, technically termed the peristyle ; for the 
main difference between the suburban villa and the town mansion 
consisted in placing, in the first, the said colonnade in exactly the 
same place as that which in the town mansion was occupied by 
the atrium. In the centre of the peristyle was an open court, 
which contained the impluvium. 

From this peristyle descended a staircase to the offices ; an- 
other narrow passage on the opposite side communicated with a 
garden ; various small apartments surrounded the colonnade, 
appropriated probably to country visitors. Another door to the 
left on entering communicated with a small triangular portico, 
which belonged to the baths ; and behind was the wardrobe, in 
which were kept the vests of the holiday suits of the slaves, and, 
perhaps, of the master. Seventeen centuries afterwards were 
found those relics of ancient finery, calcined and crumbling kept 
longer, alas ! than their thrifty lord foresaw. 

Return we to the peristyle, and endeavour now to present to 
the reader a coup-d'ceil of the whole suite of apartments, which 
immediately stretched before the steps of the visitors. 

Let him then first imagine the columns of the portico, hung 
with festoons of flowers ; the columns themselves in the lower 
part painted red, and the walls around glowing with various fres- 
coes ; then, looking beyond a curtain, three parts drawn aside, 
the eye caught the tablinum or saloon which was closed at wiH 
by glazed doors, now slid back into the walls. On either side of 
this tablinum were small rooms, one of which was a kind of 
cabinet of gems ; and these apartments, as well as the tablinum, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 221 

communicated with a long gallery, which opened at either end 
upon terraces ; and between the terraces, and communicating with 
the central part of the gallery, was a hall, in which the banquet 
was that day prepared. All these apartments, though almost on 
a level with the street, were one story above the garden ; and the 
terraces communicating with the gallery were continued into cor- 
ridors, raised above the pillars which to the right and left skirted 
the .garden below. 

Beneath, and on a level with the garden, ran the apartments 
we have already described as chiefly appropriated to Julia. 

In the gallery, then, just mentioned, Diomed received his 
guests. 

The merchant affected greatly the man of letters, and, there- 
fore, he also affected a passion for everything Greek. He paid 
particular attention to Glaucus. 

" You will see, my friend," said he, with a wave of his hand, 
" that I am a little classical here a little Cecropian eh? The 
hall in which we shall sup is borrowed from the Greeks. It is an 
CEcus Cyzicene. Noble Sallust ! they have not, I am told, this 
sort of apartment in Rome." 

" Oh !" replied Sallust, with a half smile, "you Pompeians com- 
bine all that is most eligible in Greece and in Rome ; may you, 
Diomed, combine the viands as well as the architecture." 

" You shall see you shall see, my Sallust," replied the 
merchant. ' ' We have a taste at Pompeii and we have also 
money." 

" They are two excellent things," replied Sallust. " But, be- 
hold, the lady Julia!" 

A main difference, as I have before remarked, in the manner 
of life observed among the Athenians and Romans, was, that with 
the first, the modest women rarely or never took part in entertain- 
ments ; with the latter, they were the common ornaments of the 
banquet ; but when they were present at the feast, it usually ter- 
minated at an early hour. 

Magnificently robed in white, interwoven with pearls and 
threads of gold, the handsome Julia entered the apartment. 

Scarcely had she received the salutation of the two guests, ere 
Pansa and his wife, Lepidus, Clodius, and the Roman senator, 
entered almost simultaneously ; then came the widow Fulvia ; 
then the poet Fulvius, like to the widow in name if in nothing 
else ; the warrior from Herculaneum, accompanied by his umbra, 
next stalked in ; afterwards, the less eminent of the guests. lone 
yet tarried. 

It was the mode among the courteous ancients to flatter when- 
ever it was in their power ; accordingly it was a sign of ill-breed- 



422 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ing to seat themselves immediately on entering the house of their 
host. After performing the salutation, which was usually ac- 
complished by the same cordial shake of the right hand which we 
ourselves retain, and sometimes by the yet more familiar em- 
brace, they spent several minutes in surveying the apartment and 
admiring the bronzes, the pictures, or the furniture, with which 
it was adorned a mode very impolite according to our refined 
English notions, which place good breeding in indifference. We 
would not for the world express much admiration at a man's 
house, for fear it should be thought we had never seen anything 
so fine before ! 

"A beautiful statue, this, of Bacchus!" said the Roman 
senator. 

' A mere trifle ! " replied Diomed. 

' What charming paintings !" said Fulvia. 

1 Mere trifles !" answered the owner. 

' Exquisite candelabra 1 " cried the warrior. 

' Exquisite ! " echoed his umbra. 

1 Trifles ! trifles ! " reiterated the merchant. 

Meanwhile, Glaucus found himself by one of the windows of 
the gallery which communicated with the terraces, and the fair 
Julia by his side. 

"Is it an Athenian virtue, Glaucus," said the merchant's 
daughter, " to shun those whom we once sought?" 

" Fair Julia no !" 

" Yet methinks it is one of the qualities of Glaucus." 

" Glaucus never shuns a friend" replied the Greek, with some 
emphasis on the last word. 

" May Julia rank among the number of his friends?" 

' It would be an honour to the emperor to find a friend in one 
so lovely." 

"You evade my question," returned the enamoured Julia; 
" but tell me, is it true that you admire the Neapolitan lone?" 

" Does not beauty constrain our admiration?" 

' ' Ah ! subtle Greek, still do you fly the meaning of my words. 
But say, shall Julia be indeed your friend?" 

" If she will so favour me, blessed be the gods! The day in 
which I am thus honoured shall be ever marked in white." 

' ' Yet even while you speak your eye is restless your colour 
comes and goes you move away involuntarily you are im- 
patient to join lone." 

For at that moment lone had entered, and Glaucus had indeed 
betrayed the emotion noticed by the jealous beauty. 

" Can admiration to one woman make me unworthy the iriend- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 223 

ship of another ? Sanction not so, O Julia, the libels of the poets 
on your sex." 

' ' Well, you are right or I will leam to think so. Glaucus ! 
yet one moment ! You are to wed lone is it not so?" 

" If the Fates permit, such is my blessed hope." 

" Accept then from me, in token of our new friendship, a pre- 
sent for your bride. Nay, it is the custom of friends, you know, 
always to present to bride and bridegroom some such little marks 
of their esteem and favouring wishes. " 

"Julia! I cannot refuse any token of friendship from one 
like you. I will accept the gift as an omen from Fortune her- 
self/' 

" Then after the feast, when the guests retire, you will descend 
with me to my apartment, and receive it from my hands. Re- 
member!" said Julia, as she joined the wife of Pansa, and left 
Glaucus to seek lone. 

The widow Fulvia and the spouse of the sedile were engaged 
in high and grave discussion. 

' ' O Fulvia ! I assure you that the last account from Rome 
declares that the frizzling mode of dressing the hair is growing 
antiquated ; they only now wear it built up in a tower like 
Julia's, or arranged as a helmet the Galerian fashion like 
mine, you see ; it has a fine effect, I think. I assure you, Ves- 
pius (Vespius was the name of the Herculaneum hero) admires 
it greatly." 

"And nobody wears the hair like yon Neapolitan, in the 
Greek way?" 

' ' What, parted in the front, with the knot behind ! Oh, no ! 
how ridiculous it is ! It reminds one of a statue of Diana ! Yet 
this lone is handsome, eh?" 

" So the men say, but then she is rich. She is to marry the 
Athenian I wish her joy. He will not be long faithful, I sus- 
pect ; those foreigners are very faithless." 

"Ho, Julia!" said Fulvia, as the merchant's daughter joined 
them ; "nave you seen the tiger yet?" 

" No." 

" Why, all the ladies have been to see him. He is so hand- 
some!" 

" I hope we shall find some criminal or other for him and the 
lion," replied Julia. " Your husband," turning to Pansa's wife, 
" is not so active as he should be in this matter." 

"Why, really, the laws are too mild," replied the dame of the 
helmet. "There are so few offences to which the punishment of 
the arena can be awarded ; and then, too, the gladiators are grow- 
ing effeminate. The stoutest bestiarii declare they are willing 



224 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

enough to fight a boar or a bull ; but as for a lion or tiger, they 
think the game to much in earnest." 

" They are worthy of a mitre,"* replied Julia, in disdain. 

" Oh ! have you seen the new house of Fulvius, the dear poet?" 
said Pansa's wife. 

"No; is it handsome?" 

"Very such good taste ! But they say, my dear, that he has 
such improper pictures. He won't show them to the women : 
how ill-bred." 

"Those poets are always odd," said the widow. " But he 
is an interesting man ; what pretty verses he writes ! We im- 
prove very much in poetry ; it is impossible to read the old stuff 
now." 

" I declare I am of your opinion," returned the lady of the 
helmet ; ' ' there is so much more force and energy in the modern 
school." 

The warrior sauntered up to the ladies. 

" It reconciles me to peace," said he, "when I see such faces." 

" Oh ! you heroes are ever flatterers," returned Fulvia, hasten- 
ing to appropriate the compliment specially to herself. 

" By this chain, which I received from the emperor's own 
hand," replied the warrior, playing with a short chain which 
hung round the neck like a collar, instead of descending to 
the breast, according to the fashion of the peaceful "By this 
chain you wrong me ! I am a blunt man a soldier should 
be so." 

"How do you find the ladies of Pompeii generally?" said 
Julia. 

"By Venus, most beautiful ! They favour me a little, it is true, 
and that inclines my eyes to double their charms." 

" We love a warrior," said the wife of Pansa. 

" I see it. By Hercules ! it is even disagreeable to be too 
celebrated in these cities. At Herculaneum they climb the roof 
of my atrium to catch a glimpse of me through the compluvium. 
The admiration of one's citizens is pleasant at first, but burthen- 
some afterwards." 

" True, true, O Vespius !" cried the poet, joining the group ; 
" I find it so myself." 

" You I" said the stately warrior, scanning the small form of 

Mitres were worn sometimes by men, and considered a great mark of 
effeminacy to be fit for a mitre was, therefore, to be fit for very little else. 
It is astonishing how many modern opinions are derived from antiquity. 
Doubtless, it was this classical notion of mitres that incited the ardour 
of Mr. Rippon to expel the bishops. There ia a vast deal of wickedness 
In Latin! 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 225 

the poet with ineffable disdain. " In what legion have you 
served?" 

" You may see my spoils, my exuviae, in the Forum itself," re- 
turned the poet, with a significant glance at the women. " I have 
been among the tent-companions, the contubernales, of the great 
Mantuan himself." 

" I know no general from Mantua," said the warrior, gravely. 
" What campaign have you served?" 
That of Helicon." 
' I never heard of it." 

' Nay, Vespius, he does but joke," said Julia, laughing. 
'Joke ! By Mars, am I a man to be joked !" 
'Yes ; Mars himself was in love with the mother of jokes," 
said the poet, a little alarmed. ' ' Know then, O Vespius ! that I 
am the poet Fulvius. It is I who make warriors immortal." 

" The gods forbid ! " whispered Sallust to Julia. " If Vespius 
\vere made immortal, what a specimen of tiresome braggadocio 
would be transmitted to posterity ! " 

The soldier looked puzzled ; when, to the infinite relief of him- 
self and his companions, the signal for the feast was given. 

As we have already witnessed at the house of Glaucus the 
ordinary routine of a Pompeian entertainment, the reader is spar- 
ed any second detail of the courses, and the manner in which 
they were introduced. 

Diomed, who was rather ceremonious, had appointed a nomen- 
clator, or appointer of places, to each guest. 

The reader understands that the festive board was composed 
of three tables ; one at the centre, and one at each wing. It was 
only at the outer side of these tables that the guests reclined ; the 
inner space was left untenanted for the greater convenience of the 
waiters or ministri. The extreme corner of one of the wings was 
appropriated to Julia as the lady of the feast ; that next her, to 
Diomed. At one corner of the ce'ntre table was placed the sedile ; 
at the opposite corner, the Roman senator these were the posts 
of honour. The other guests were arranged, so that the young, 
gentleman or lady, should sit next to each other, and the more 
advanced in years be similarly matched.' An agreeable provision 
enough, but one which must often have offended those who wished 
to be thought still young. 

The chair of lone was next to the couch of Glaucus.* The 
seats were veneered with tortoise-shell, and covered with quilts 
stuffed with feathers, and ornamented with the costly embroider- 

In formal parties the women sat in chairs, the men reclined. It was 
only in the bosom of families that the same ease was granted to both sexes 
the reason is obvious. 

O 



226 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ies of Babylon. The modern ornaments of epergne or plateau 
were supplied by images of the gods, wrought in bronze, ivory, 
and silver. The sacred salt-cellar and the familiar Lares were 
not forgotten. Over the table and the seats a rich canopy was 
suspended from the ceiling. At each corner of the table were 
lofty candelabras ; for though it was early noon, the room was 
darkened ; while from tripods, placed in different parts of the 
room, distilled the odour of myrrh and frankincense ; and upon 
the abacus, or sideboard, large vases and various ornaments of 
silver were ranged, much with the same ostentation, but with 
more than the same taste, that we find displayed at a modern 
feast. 

The custom of grace was invariably supplied by that of liba- 
tions to the gods ; and Vesta, as queen of the household gods, 
usually received first that graceful homage. 

This ceremony being performed, the slaves showered flowers 
upon the couches and the floor, and crowned each guest with 
rosy garlands, intricately woven with ribands, tied by the rind of 
the linden-tree, and each intermingled with the Ivy and the 
amethyst, supposed preventatives against the effect of wine : the 
wreaths of the women only were exempted from these leaves, for 
it was not the fashion of them to drink wine in public. It was 
then that the president Diomed thought it advisable to institute 
a dasileus, or director of the feast ; an important office, some- 
times chosen by lot, sometimes, as now, by the master of the 
entertainment. 

Diomed was not a little puzzled as to his election. The invalid 
senator was too grave and too infirm for the proper fulfilment of 
his duty ; the sedile Pansa was adequate enough to the task ; but 
then to choose the next in official rank to the senator, was an 
affront to the senator himself. While deliberating between tlie 
merits of the others, he caught the mirthful glance of Sallust, and 
by a sudden inspiration, named the jovial epicure to the rank of 
director, or arbiter bibendi. 

Sallust received the appointment with becoming humility. 

"I shall be a merciful king," said he, "to those who drink 
deep; to a recusant, Minos himself shall be less inexorable. 
Beware!" 

The slaves handed round basins of perfumed water, by which 
lavation the feast commenced ; and now the table groaned under 
the initiatory course. 

The conversation, at first desultory and scattered, allowed 
lone and Glaucus to carry on those sweet whispers which are 
worth all the eloquence in the world. Julia watched them with 
flashing eyes. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 227 

" How soon shall her place be mine !" thought she. 

But Clodius, who sat in the centre table, so as to observe well 
the countenance of Julia, guessed her pique, and resolved to 
profit by it. He addressed her across the table in set phrases 
of gallantry ; and as he was of high birth, and of a showy person, 
the vain Julia was not so much in love as to be insensible to his 
attentions. 

The slaves, in the interim, were constantly kept upon the alert 
by the vigilant Sallust, who chased one cup by another with a 
celerity which seemed as if he were resolved upon exhausting 
those capacious cellars which the reader may yet see beneath the 
house of Diomed. The worthy merchant began to repent his 
choice, as amphora after amphora was pierced and emptied. The 
slaves, all under the age of manhood (the youngest being about 
ten years old it was they who filled the wine, the eldest, some 
five years older, mingled it with water), seemed to share in the 
zeal of Sallust ; and the face of Diomed began to glow, as he 
watched the provoking complacency with which they seconded 
the exertions of the king of the feast. 

"Pardon me, O senator !" said Sallust; "I see you flinch; 
your purple hem cannot save you drink ! '' 

" By the gods!" said the senator, coughing, "my lungs are al- 
ready on fire ; you proceed with so miraculous a swiftness that 
Phaeton himself was nothing to you. I am infirm, O pleasant 
Sallust: you must exonerate me." 

" Not I, by Vesta ! I am an impartial monarch drink !" 

The poor senator, compelled by the laws of the table, was 
forced to comply. Alas ! every cup was bringing him nearer and 
nearer to the Stygian pool. 

"Gently! gently! my king," groaned Diomed; "we already 
begin to " 

" Treason ! " interrupted Sallust ; " no stern Brutus here ! no 
interference with royalty ! " 

" But our female guests ! " 

" Love a toper ! Did not Ariadne dote upon Bacchus?" 

The feast proceeded ; the guests grew more talkative and noisy ; 
the dessert, or last course, was already on the table ; and the 
slaves bore round water with myrrh and hyssop for the finishing 
lavatiou. At the same time, a small circular table that bad been 
placed in the space opposite the guests, suddenly, and as by 
magic, seemed to open in the centre, and cast up a fragrant 
shower, sprinkling the table and the guests ; while, as it ceased, 
the awning above them was drawn aside, and the guests perceived 
that a rope had been stretched across the ceiling, and that one of 
\hose nimble dancers, for which Pompeii was so celebrated, and 



228 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

whose descendants add so charming a grace to the festivities of 
Astley's or Vauxhall, was now treading his airy measures right 
over their heads. 

This apparition, removed but by a cord from one's pericranium, 
and indulging the most vehement leaps, apparently with the in- 
tention of alighting upon that cerebral region, would probably be 
regarded with some terror by a party in May Fair ; but our 
Pompeian revellers seemed to behold the spectacle with delighted 
curiosity, and applauded in proportion as the dancer appeared 
with the most difficulty to miss falling upon the head of whatever 
guest he particularly selected to dance above. He paid, in- 
deed, the senator the peculiar compliment of literally falling from 
the rope, and catching it again with his hand, just as the whole 
party imagined the skull of the Roman was as much fractured as 
ever that of the poet whom the eagle took for a tortoise. 

At length, to the great relief of at least lone, who had not 
much accustomed herself to this entertainment, the dancer sud- 
denly paused, as a strain of music was heard from without. He 
danced again still more wildly; the air changed, the dancer 
paused again ; no, it could not dissolve the charm which was 
supposed to possess him ! He represented one who, by a strange 
disorder, is compelled to dance, and whom only a certain air of 
music can cure.* At length the musician seemed to hit on the 
right tune ; the dancer gave one leap, swung himself down from 
the rope, alighted on the floor, and vanished. 

One art now yielded to another ; and the musicians, who were 
stationed without on the terrace, struck up a soft and mellow 
air, to which were sung the following words, made almost indis- 
tinct by the barrier between, and the exceeding lowness of the 
minstrelsy : 

FESTIVE MUSIC SHOULD BE LOW. 
Hark ! through these flowers our music sends its greeting 

To your loved halls, where Psilast shuns the day: 
When the young god his Cretan nymph was meeting, 
He taught Pan's rustic pipe this gliding lay. 
Soft as the dews of wine 

Shed in this banquet-hour, 
The rich libation of sound's stream divine, 

O reverent harp, to Aphrodite pour ! 
Wild rings the trump o'er ranks to glory marching ; 

Music sublimer bursts for war are meet ; 
But sweet lips murmuring under wreaths o'er-arching, 
Find the low whispers like their own most sweet. 
Steal, my lull'd music, steal, 

Like woman's half-heard tone, 
So that whoe'er shall hear, shall think to feel 
In thee the voice of lips that love his own. ___^ 

A dance still retained in Campania. + Bacchus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 229 

How it was I know not, but at the end of that song Tone's 
cheek blushed more deeply than before, and Glaucus had con- 
trived beneath the cover of the table to steal her hand. 

" It is a pretty song," said Fulvius, patronisingly. 

"Ah ! if you would oblige us," murmured the wife of Pansa. 

" Do you wish Fulvius to sing?" asked the king of the feast, 
who had just called on the assembly to drink the health of the 
Roman senator, a cup to each letter of his name. 

" Can you ask?" said the matron, with a complimentary glance 
at the poet. 

Sallust snapped his fingers, and whispering the slave who came 
to learn his orders, the latter disappeared, and returned in a few 
mements with a small harp in one hand, and a branch of myrtle 
in the other. 

The slave approached the poet, and with a low reverence pre- 
sented to him the harp. 

" Alas ! I cannot play," said the poet. 

" Then you must sing to the myrtle. It is a Greek fashion. 
Diomed loves the Greeks I love the Greeks you love the Greeks 
we all love the Greeks and between you and me this is not 
the only thing we have stolen from them. However, I introduce 
this custom I, the king. Sing, subject, sing !" 

The poet, with a bashful smile, took the myrtle in his hands, 
and after a short prelude, sang as follows, in a pleasant and well- 
tuned voice : 

THE CORONATION OP THE LOVES.' 
The merry loves one holiday 

Were all at gambols madly; 
But Loves to long can seldom play 

Without behaving sadly. 
They laughed, they toyed, they romped about, 
And then for change they all fell out. 
Fie, tie ! how can they quarrel so, 
My Lesbia ah, for shame love ! 
Methinks 'tis scarce an hour ago 

When weMid just the same, love. 
The Loves, 'tis thought, were free till then, 

They had no king nor laws dear : 
But gods, like men, should subject bo, 

Say all the ancient saws, dear. 
And so our crew resolved, for quiet, 
To choose a king to curb their riot. 
A kiss ah ! what a grievous thing 

For both, methinks 'twould be, child, 
If I should take some prudish king 

And cease to be so free, child ! 
Among their toys a Casque they found, 
It was the helm of Ares ; 

Suggested by two Pompeian pictures in the Museum at Naples, which 
represented a dove and a helmet enthroned by Cupids. 



230 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

With horrent plumes the crest was crown'd, 

It frightened all the Lares. 
So fine a king was never known 
They placed the helmet on the throne. 
My girl, since Valour wins the world. 

They chose a mighty master, 
But thy sweet flag of smiles unfurled 
Would win the world much faster. 
The Casque soon found the Loves too wild 

A troop for him to school them ; 
For warriors know how one such child 

Has, aye, contrived to fool them. 
They plagued him so, that in despair 
He took a wife the plague to share. 

If kings themselves thus find the strife 

Of earth unshared, severe, girl ; 
Why, just to halve the ills of life, 

Come, take your partner here, girL 
Within that room the Bird of Love 
The whole afiair had eyed then ; 
The monarch hailed the royal dove ; 

And placed her by his side then : 
What mirth amidst the Loves was seen, 
' Long live they,' cried, ' our King and Queen !' 
Ah ! Lesbia, would that thrones wore mine, 

And crowns to deck that brow, love 1 
And yet I know that heart of thine, 

For me is throne enow, love ! 
The urchins thought a milder mate 
Their king could not have taken ; 
Bat when the Queen hi judgment sate, 

They found themselves mistaken. 
The art to reign she' learnt above, 
And ne'er was despot like the Dove. 
In thee I find the same deceit ; 

Too late, alas ! a learner ! 
For where a mien more gently sweet P 
And where a tyrant sterner ? 

This song, which greatly suited the gay and lively fancy of the 
Pompeians, was received with considerable applause, and the 
widow insisted on crowning her namesake with the very branch 
of myrtle to which he had sung. It was easily twisted into a 
garland, and the immortal Fulvius was crowned amidst the 
clapping of hands and shouts of lo triumphe ! The song and 
the harp now circulated round the party, a new myrtle branch 
being handed about, stopping at each person who could be pre- 
vailed upon to sing.* 

The sun began now to decline, though the revellers who had 
worn away several hours, perceived it not in their darkened cham- 

According to Plutarch (Sympos. lib. i.) it seems that the branch of myrtle 
or laurel was not carried round in order, but passed from the first person on 
one couch to the first on another, and then from the second on the one to 
the second on the other, and so on. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 231 

her ; and the senator, who was tired, and the warrior who had to 
return to Herculaneum, rising to depart, gave the signal for the 
general dispersion. 

" Tarry yet a moment, my friends, "said Diomed ; "if you will 
go so soon, you must at least take a share in our concluding 
game. 

So saying, he motioned to one of the ministri, and whispering 
him, the slave went out, and presently returned with a small bowl 
containing various tablets, carefully sealed and apparently exactly 
similar. Each guest was to purchase one of these at the nominal 
price of the lowest piece of silver ; and the sport of this lottery 
which was the favourite diversion of Augustus, who introduced it 
consisted in the inequality, and sometimes the incongruity of the 
prizes, the nature and the amount of which were specified within 
the tablets. For instance, the poet, with a wry face drew one of his 
own poems no physician ever less willingly swallowed his own 
draught ; the warrior drew a case of bodkins, which gave rise to 
certain novel witticisms relative to Hercules and the distaff; the 
widow Fulvia obtained a large drinking-cup ; Julia, a gentle- 
man's buckle ; and Lepidus, a lady's patch-box. The most ap- 
propriate lot was drawn by the gambler Clodius, who reddened 
with anger on being presented to a set of cogged dice.* A cer- 
tain damp was thrown upon the gaiety which these various lots cre- 
ated by an accident that was considered ominous ; Glaucus drew 
the most valuable of all the prizes, a small marble statue of For- 
tune, of Grecian workmanship : on handing it to him, the slave 
suffered it to drop, and it broke in pieces. 

A shiver went round the assembly, and each voice cried spon- 
taneously, " Dii avert ite omen!" 

Glaucus, alone, though perhaps as superstitious as the rest, 
affected to be unmoved. 

" Sweet Neapolitan," whispered he tenderly to lone, who had 
turned pale as the broken marble itself ; " I accept the omen. It 
signifies, that in obtaining thee, Fortune can give no more she 
breaks her image when she blesses me with thine." 

In order to divert the impression which this incident had 
occasioned in an assembly which, considering the civilisation of 
the guests, would seem miraculously superstitious, if at the 
present day in a country party we did not often see a lady grow 
hypochondriacal on leaving a room last of thirteen, Sallust now 
crowning his cup with flowers, gave the health of their host. 
This was followed by a similar compliment to the emperor ; and 
then, with a parting cup to Mercury to send them pleasant slum- 

Revere! oogged dine wore fonnd in Pompeii. Some of the virtues may be 
: i -, lorn but it is quite clear that all the vices are ancient. 



2j2 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII: 

bers, they concluded the entertainment by a last libation, an 
broke up the party. 

Carriages were little used in Pompeii, partly owing to the ex- 
treme narrowness of the streets partly to the convenient small- 
ness of the city. Most of the guests replacing their sandals, 
which they put off in the banquet-room, and induing their cloaks, 
left the house on foot, attended by their slaves. 

Meanwhile, having seen lone depart, Glaucus, turning to the 
staircase which led down to the rooms of Julia, was conducted 
by a slave to an apartment in which he found the merchant's 
daughter already seated. 

" Glaucus !" said she, looking down, " I see that you really love 
lone she is indeed beautiful." 

"Julia is charming enough to be generous," replied the Greek. 
" Yes, I love lone ; amidst all the youth who court you, may you 
have one worshipper as sincere! " 

" I pray the gods to grant it ! See, Glaucus, these pearls are 
the present I destine to your bride : may Juno give her health 
to wear them!" 

So saying, she placed a case in his hands, containing a row 
of pearls of some size and price. It was so much the custom 
for persons about to be married to receive these gifts, that 
Glaucus could have little scruple in accepting the necklace, 
though the gallant and proud Athenian inly resolved to requite 
the gift by one of thrice its value. Julia then stopping short his 
thanks, poured forth some wine into a small bowl. 

"You have drunk many toasts with my father," said she, 
smiling "one now with me. Health and fortune to your 
bride!" 

She touched the cup with her lips, and then presented it to 
Glaucus. The customary etiquette required that Glaucus should 
drain the whole contents ; he accordingly did so. Julia, un- 
knowing the deceit which Nydia had practised upon her, watched 
him with sparkling eyes. Although the witch had told her that 
the effect might not be immediate, she yet sanguinely trusted to 
an expeditious operation in favour of her charms. She was dis- 
appointed when she found Glaucus coldly replace the cup, and 
converse with her in the same unmoved but gentle tone as be- 
fore. And though she detained him as long as she decorously 
could do, no change took place in his manner. 

" But to-morrow," thought she, exultingly recovering her dis 
appointment, " to-morrow, alas for Glaucus 1" 

Alas for him, indeed ! 



TPIE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 233 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE STORY HALTS FOR A MOMENT AT AN EPISODE. 

RESTLESS and anxious, Apagcides consumed the day in 
wandering through the most sequestered walks in the 
vicinity of the city. The sun was slowly setting as he paused 
beside a lonely part of the Sarnus, ere yet it wound amidst the 
evidences of luxury and power. Only through openings in the 
woods and vines were caught glimpses of the white and gleam- 
ing city, in which was heard in the distance no din, no sound, 
nor " busiest hum of men." Amidst the green banks crept the 
lizard and the grasshopper, and here and there in the brake 
some solitary bird burst into sudden song, as suddenly stilled. 
There was deep calm around, but not the calm of night ; the air 
still breathed of the freshness and life of day ; the grass still 
moved to the stir of the insect horde ; and on the opposite bank 
the graceful and white capella passed browsing through the 
herbage, and paused at the wave to drink. 

As Apaecides stood musingly, gazing upon the waters, he 
heard beside him the low bark of a dog. 

" Be still, poor friend," said a voice at hand ; " the stranger's 
step harms not thy master." The convert recognised the voice, 
and, turning, he beheld the old mysterious man whom he had 
seen in the congregation of the Nazarenes. 

The old man was sitting upon a fragment of stone covered 
with ancient mosses ; beside him were his staff and script ; at his 
feet lay a small shagged dog, the companion in how many a 
pilgrimage perilous and strange ! 

The face of the old man was as balm to the excited spirit of 
the neophyte ; he approached, and craving his blessing, sat 
down beside him. 

" Thou art provided as for a journey, father," said he : " wilt 
thou leave us yet?" 

" My son," replied the old man, " the days in store for me on 
earth are few and scanty ; I employ them as becomes me, travel- 
ling from place to place, comforting those whom God has 
gathered together in His name, and proclaiming the glory of His 
Son, as testified to His servant." 

"Thou hast looked, they tell me, on the face of Christ?" 

"And the face revived me from the dead. Know, young pro- 
selyte to the true faith, that I am he of whom thou readest in 
the scroll of the Apostle. In the fair Judea, and in the city of 
Nain, there dwelt a widow, humble of spirit and sad of heart : 
for of all the ties of life onu sor. alone was spared to her. And 



234 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

she loved him with a melancholy love, for he was the likeness 
of the lost. And the son died. The reed on which she leant 
was broken, the oil was dried up in the widow's cruse. They 
bore the dead upon his bier ; and near the gate of the city, where 
the crowd were gathered, there came a silence over the sounds 
of woe, for the Son of God was passing by. The mother, who 
followed the bier, wept, not noisily, but all who looked upon 
her saw that her heart was crushed. And the Lord pitied her, 
and he touched the bier, and said, ' I SAY UNTO THEE, ARISE.' 
And the dead man woke and looked upon the face of the Lord. 
Oh, that calm and solemn brow, that unutterable smile, that 
care-worn and sorrowful face, lighted up with a God's benignity 
it chased away the shadows of the grave ! I rose, I spoke, I 
was living, and in my mother's arms yes, I am the dead revived ! 
The people shouted, the funeral horns ning forth merrily there 
was a cry, ' God has visited His people !' I heard them not I 
felt I saw nothing but the face of the Redeemer !" 

The old man paused, deeply moved ; and the youth felt his 
blood creep, and his hair stir. He was in the presence of one 
who had known the Mystery of Death ! 

"Till that time," renewed the widow's son, "I had been as 
other men, thoughtless not abandoned ; taking no heed, but of 
the things of love and life ; nay, I had inclined to the gloomy 
faith of the earthly Sadducee ! But, raised from the dead, from 
awful and desert dreams that these lips never dare reveal re- 
called upon earth, to testify the powers of Heaven once more 
mortal, the witness of immortality ; I drew a new being from 
the grave. O, faded O, lost Jerusalem ! Him from whom 
came my life I beheld adjudged to the agonised and parching 
death I Far in the mighty crowd, I saw the light rest and glim- 
mer over the cross. I heard the hooting mob -I cried aloud, I 
raved, I threatened none heeded me I was lost in the whirl 
and the roar of thousands ! But even then, in my agony and 
His own, methought the glazing eye of the Son of Man sought 
me out His lip smiled, as when it conquered death it hushed 
me, and I became calm. He who defied the grave for another 
what was the grave to Him ? The sun shone aslant the pale 
and powerful features, and then died away! Darkness fell over 
the earth ; how long it endured, I know not. A loud cry came 
through the gloom a sharp and bitter cry ! and all was 
silent. 

" But who shall tell the terrors of the night? I walked along 
the city ; the earth reeled to and fro, and the houses trembled to 
their base ; the living had deserted the streets, but not the dead! 
Through the gloom J_ saw them glide the dim and ghastly 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 235 

shapes, in the cerements of the grave with horror and woe, and 
warning on their unmoving lips and lightless eyes ! They swept 
by me, as I passed ; they glared upon me ; I had been their 
brother, and they bowed their heads in recognition. They had 
risen to tell the living that the dead can rise." 

Again the old man paused ; and, when he resumed, it was in 
a calmer tone. 

" From that night I resigned all earthly thought but that of 
serving Him. A preacher and a pilgrim, I have traversed the 
remotest corners of the earth, proclaiming His divinity, and 
bringing new converts to His fold. I come as the wind, and as 
the wind depart ; sowing, as the wind sows, the seeds that enrich 
the world. 

" Son, on earth we shall meet no more. Forget not this hour, 
what are the pleasures and the pomps of life? As the lamp 
shines, life glitters for an hour ; but the soul's light is the star 
that burns for ever, in the heart of illimitable space." 

It was then that their converse fell upon the general and sub- 
lime doctrines of immortality ; it soothed and elevated the young 
mind of the convert, which yet clung to many of the damps and 
shadows of that cell of faith which he had so lately left ; it was 
the air of heaven breathing on the prisoner released at last. 
There was a strong and marked distinction between the Christi- 
anity of the old man and that of Olinthus ; that of the first was 
more soft, more gentle, more divine. The hard heroism of 
Olinthus had something in it fierce and intolerant ; it was neces- 
sary to the part he was doomed to play ; it had in it more of the 
courage of the martyr than the charity of the saint. It aroused, 
it excited, it nerved, rather than subdued and softened. But the 
whole heart of that divine old man was bathed in love ; the 
smile of the Deity had burned away from it the leaven of earth- 
lier and coarser passions, and left to the energy of the hero all 
the meekness of the child. 

"And now," said he, rising at length, as the sun's last ray 
died in the west ; "now, in the cool of twilight, I pursue my 
way towards the Imperial Rome. There, yet dwell some holy 
men, who, like me, have beheld the face of Christ ; and them 
would I see before I die." 

" But the night is chill for thine age, my father, and the way 
is long, and the robber haunts it ; rest thee till to-morrow." 

" Kind son, what is there in this scrip to tempt the robber? 
And the Night and the Solitude ! these make the ladder round 
which angels cluster, and beneath which my spirit can dream 
of God. Oh ! none can know what the pilgrim feels as he walks 
on his holy course ; nursing no fear, and foreseeing no danger, 



236 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

for God is with him ! He hears the winds murmur glad tidings ; 
the woods sleep in the shadow of Almighty wings ; the stars 
are the Scriptures of Heaven, the token of love, and the witness 
of immortality. Night is the pilgrim's day." With these words 
the old man pressed Apaecides to his breast, and taking up his 
staff and scrip, the dog bounded cheerily before him, and with 
slow steps and downcast eyes he went his way. 

The convert stood watching his bended form, till the trees 
shut the last glimpse from his view ; and then, as the stars broke 
forth, he woke from his musings with a start, reminded of his 
appointment with Olinthus. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE PHILTRE ITS EFFECT. 

WHEN Glaucus arrived at his own home, he found Nydia 
seated under the portico of his garden. In fact, she 
had sought his house in the mere chance that he might return 
at an early hour ; anxious, fearful, anticipative, she resolved 
upon seizing the earliest opportunity of availing herself of the 
love-charm, while, at the same time, she half hoped the oppor- 
tunity might be deferred. Strange mixture of boldness and 
timidity, that when young we have all experienced : how often 
in our morning walks, or in the nightly crowd, in our first youth, 
have all of us at once sought and shunned the mistress of our 
heart; gone miles in the hope of whispering one sweet word, 
and returned home, the word unsaid ! Heaven be praised that 
we husband our time better after a little experience, and when 
we have less of youth and of love to throw away ! 

It was, then, in that fearful burning mood, her heart beating, 
her cheek flushing, that Nydia awaited the possibility of Glaucus's 
return before the night. He crossed the portico just as the first 
stars began to rise, and the heaven above had assumed its most 
purple robe. 

" Ho, my child, wait you for me?" 

" Nay; I have been tending the flowers, and did but linger a 
little while to rest myself." 

" It has been warm," said Glaucns, placing himself also on 
one of the seats beneath the colonnade. 

" Very." 

"Wilt thou summon Davus? The wine I have drunk heats 
me, and I long for some cooling drink." 

Here at once, suddenly and unexpectedly, the very opportunity 
that Nydia awaited presented itself ; of himself, at his own free 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 137 

choice, he afforded to her that occasion. She breathed quick ; 
"I will prepare for you myself," said she, " the summer draught 
that lone loves, of honey and weak wine cooled in snow." 

"Thanks," said the unconscious Glaucus ; "if lone loves it, 
enough ; it would be grateful were it poison." 

Nydia frowned, and then smiled ; she withdrew for a few mo- 
ments, and returned with the bowl containing the beverage. 
Glaucus took it from her hand. What would not Nydia have 
given then for one hour's prerogative of sight, to have watched 
her hopes ripening into effect ; to have seen the first dawn of 
the imagined love ; to have worshipped with more than Persian 
adoration the rising of that sun which her credulous soul be- 
lieved was to break upon her dreary night. Far different, as 
she stood then and there, were the thoughts, the emotions of 
the blind girl, from those of the vain Pompeian under a similar 
suspense. In the last, what poor and frivolous passions had 
made up the daring whole. What petty pique, what small 
revenge, what expectation of a paltry triumph, had swelled the 
attributes of that sentiment she dignified with the name of love. 
But in the wild heart of the Thessalian all was pure, uncontrolled, 
unmodified passion; erring unwomanly frenzied but de- 
based by no elements of a more sordid feeling. Filled with love 
as with life itself, how could she resist the occasion of winning 
love in return. 

She leant for support against the wall, and her face, before 
so flushed, was now white as snow ; and with her delicate hands 
clasped convulsively together her lips apart her eyes on the 
ground she waited the next words Glaucus should utter. 

Glaucus had raised the cup to his lips, he had already drained 
about a fourth of its contents, when his eye suddenly glancing 
upon the face of Nydia, he was so forcibly struck by its altera- 
tion, by its intense and painful and strange expression, that he 
paused abruptly, and still holding the cup near his lips, ex- 
claimed 

"Why, Nydia ! Nydia ! I say, art thou ill, or in pain? Nay, 
thy face speaks for thee. What ails my poor child?" As he 
spoke, he put down the cup and rose from his seat to approach 
her, when a sudden pang shot coldly to his heart, and was 
followed by a wild, confused, dizzy sensation at the brain. The 
floor seemed to glide from under him his feet seemed to move 
on air a mighty and unearthly gladness rushed npon his spirit 
he felt too buoyant for the earth he longed for wings ; nay, 
it seemed, in the buoyancy of his new existence, as if he posses- 
sed them. He burst involuntarily into a loud and thrilling 
laugh. He clapped his hands he bounded aloft he was as a 



43** THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Pythoness inspired. Suddenly as it came, this preter-natural 
transport passed, though only partially, away. He now felt his 
blood rushing loudly and rapidly through his veins ; it seemed 
to swell to exult to leap along, as a stream that has burst its 
bounds, and hurries to the ocean. It throbbed in his ear with 
a mighty sound, he felt it mount to his brow, he felt the veins 
in the temples stretch and swell as if they could no longer con- 
tain the violent and increasing tide then a kind of darkness fell 
over his eyes darkness, but not entire ; for through the dim 
shade, he saw the opposite walls glow out, and the figures 
painted thereon seemed, ghost-like, to creep and glide. What 
was most strange, he did not feel himself ill he did sink or 
quail beneath the dread frenzy that was gathering over him. 
The novelty of the feelings seemed bright" and vivid he felt as 
if a younger health had been infused into his frame. He was 
gliding on to madness, and he knew it not. 

Nydia had not answered his first question, she had not been 
able to reply his wild and fearful laugh had roused her from 
her passionate suspense : she could not see his fierce gesture 
she could not mark his reeling and unsteady step as he paced 
unconsciously to and fro ; but she heard the broken words, in- 
coherent, insane, that gushed from his lips. She became terri- 
fied and appalled she hastened to him, feeling with her arms 
until she touched his knees, and then falling on the ground she 
embraced him, weeping with terror and excitement. 

"Oh, speak to me! speak! you do not hate me! - Speak, 
speak !" 

" By the bright goddess, a beautiful land, this Cyprus ! Ho ! 
how they fill us with wine instead of blood 1 now they open the 
veins of the Faun yonder, to show how it bubbles and sparkles. 
Come hither, jolly old god ! thou ridest on a goat, eli ! what 
long silky hair he has ! He is worth all the coursers of Parthia. 
But a word with thee this wine of thine is too strong for us 
mortals. Oh, beautiful ! the boughs are at rest ! the green 
waves of the forest have caught the Zephyr and drowned him ! 
Not a breath stirs the leaves and I view the Dreams sleeping 
with folded wings upon the motionless oak ; and I look be- 
yond, and I see a blue stream sparkle in the silent noon ; a 
a fountain a fountain springing aloft. Ah ! my fount, thou wilt 
not put out the rays of my Grecian sun, though thou triest ever 
so hard with thy nimble and silver arms. And now, what form 
steals yonder through the boughs? she glides like a moon-beam! 
she has a garland of oak-leaves on her head. In her hand is a 
vase upturned, from which she pours pink and tiny shells and 
sparkling waters. Oh ! look on yon face ! Man never before 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 239 

saw its like. See ! we are alone ; only I and she in the wide 
forest. There is no smile upon her lips she moves, grave and 
sweetly sad. Ha! fly it is a nymph it is one of the wild 
Napsese.* Whoever sees her becomes mad fly! see, she dis- 
covers me !" 

"Oh! Glaucus, Glaucus ! do you not know me? rave not so 
wildly, or thou wilt kill me with a word. 1 ' 

A new change seemed now to operate upon the jarring and 
disordered mind of the unfortunate Athenian. He put his hands 
upon Nydia's silken hair ; he smoothed the locks he looked 
wistfully upon her face, and then, as in the broken chain of 
thought one or two links were yet unsevered, it seemed that 
her countenance brought its associations of lone ; and with 
that remembrance, his madness became yet more powerful, 
and it was swayed and tinged by passion, as he burst forth 

" I swear by Venus, by Diana, and by Juno, that though I 
have now the world on my shoulders, as my countryman 
Hercules (ah, dull Rome ! whoever was truly great was of 
Greece ; why, you would be godless if it were not for us !) I 
say, as my countryman Hercules had before me, I would let it 
fall into chaos for one smile from lone. Ah, Beautiful, 
Adored," he added, in a voice inexpressibly fond and plaintive, 
" thou Ipvest me not. Thou art unkind to me. The Egyptian 
hath belied me to thee thou knowest not what hours I have 
spent beneath thy casement thou knowest not how I have out- 
watched the stars, thinking thou, my sun, wouldst rise at last, 
and thou lovest me not, thou forsakest me! Oh! do not 
leave me now! I feel that my life will not be long; let me 
gaze on thee at least unto the last. I am of the bright land 
of thy fathers I have trod the heights of Phyle I have gathered 
the hyacinth and rose amidst the olive groves of Ilyssus. Thou 
shouldst not desert me, for thy fathers were brothers to my own. 
And they say this land is lovely, and these climes serene, but I 
will bear thee with me Ho ! dark form, why risest thou like a 
cloud between me and mine? Death sits calmly dread upon 
thy brow on thy lip is the smile that slays ; thy name is Orcus, 
but on earth men call thee Arbaces. See, I know thee ; fly, dim 
shadow, thy spells avail not 1" 

"Glaucus! Glaucus?" murmured Nydia, releasing her hold 
and falling, beneath the excitement of her dismay, remorse, and 
anguish, insensible on the floor. 

"Who calls?" said he, in a loud voice; "lone, it is she! 
' they have borne her off we will save her where is my stilus ? 
Ha, I have it ! I come, lone, to thy rescue ! I come ! I come !" 
* Presiding over hills and woods. 



240 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

So saying, the Athenian with one bound passed the portico, 
he traversed the house, and rushed with swift but vacillating 
steps, and muttering audibly to himself, down the star-lit streets. 
The direful potion burnt like fire in his veins, for its effect was 
made, perhaps, still more sudden from the wine he had drunk 
previously. Used to the excesses of nocturnal revellers, the 
citizens, with smiles and winks, gave way to his reeling steps ; 
they naturally imagined him under the influence of the Bromian 
god, not vainly worshipped at Pompeii : but they who looked 
twice upon his face, started in a nameless fear, and the smile 
withered from their lips. He passed the more populous streets 
and, pursuing mechanically the way to lone's house, he tra- 
versed a more deserted quarter, and entered now the lonely 
grove of Cybele, in which Apascides had held his interview with 
Olinthus. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A REUNION OF DIFFERENT ACTORS. STREAMS THAT FLOWED 
APPARENTLY APART RUSH INTO ONE GULF. 

IMPATIENT to learn whether the fell drug had yet been 
1 administered by Julia to his hated rival, and with what 
effect, Arbaces resolved, as the evening came on, to seek her 
house, and satisfy his suspense. It was customary, as I have 
before said, for men at that time to carry abroad with them 
the tablets and the stilus attached to their girdle ; and with the 
girdle they were put off when at home. In fact, under the 
appearance of a literary instrument, the Romans carried about 
with them in that same stilus a very sharp and formidable 
weapon. It was with his stilus* that Cassius stabbed Caesar in 
the senate-house. Induing then his girdle and his cloak, Arbaces 
left his house, supporting his steps, which were still somewhat 
feeble (though hope and vengeance had conspired greatly, with 
his own medical science, which was profound, to restore his 
natural strength,) by his long staff, Arbaces took his way to the 
villa of Diomed. 

And beautiful is the moonlight of the south ! In those climes, 
the night so quickly glides into the day that twilight scarcely 
makes a bridge between them. One moment of darker purple 
in the sky of a'thousand rose-hues in the water of shade half 
victorious over light and then burst forth at once the countless 
stars the moon is up night has resumed her reign ! 

* From this stilus may be derived the stiletto of the Italians. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 241 

Brightly then, and softly bright, fell the moonbeams over the 
antique grove consecrated to Cybele the stately trees, whose 
date went beyond tradition, cast their long shadows over their 
boughs the stars shone still and frequent. The whiteness of the 
small sacellum in the centre of the grove, amidst the dark foliage, 
had in it something abrupt and startling ; it recalled at once the 
purpose to which the wood was consecrated, its holiness and 
solemnity. 

With a swift and stealthy pace, Calenus, gliding under the 
shade of the trees, reached the chapel, and gently putting back 
the boughs that completely closed around its rear, settled him- 
self in his concealment ; a concealment so complete, what with 
the fane in front and the trees behind, that no unsuspicious pas- 
senger could possibly have detected him. Again, all was ap- 
parently solitary in the grove ; afar off you heard faintly the voices 
of some noiser revellers, or the music that played cheerily to the 
groups that then, as now in those climates, during the nights of 
summer, lingered in the streets, and enjoyed the fresh air and the 
liquid moonlight, a milder day. 

From the height on which the grove was placed, you saw 
through the intervals of the trees the broad and purple sea rip- 
pling in the distance, the white villas of Stabiae in the curving 
shore, and the dim Lectiarian hills mingling with the delicious 
sky. Presently, the tall figure of Arbaces, in his way to the house 
of Diomed, entered the extreme end of the grove ; and at the 
same instant Apoecides, also bound to his appointment with 
Olinthus, crossed the Egyptian's path. 

" Hem ! Apgecides," said Arbaces, recognising the priest at 
a glance ; "when last we met you were my foe. I have wished 
since then to see you, for I would have thee still my pupil and 
my friend." 

Apaecides started at the voice of the Egyptian ; and halting 
abruptly, gazed upon him with a countenance full of contending, 
bitter, and scornful emotions. 

"Villain and impostor!" said he at length; "thou hast re- 
covered then from the jaws of the grave. But think not again to 
weave around me thy guilty meshes. Retiarius, I am armed 
against thee!" 

" Hush !" said Arbaces, in a very low voice but his pride, 
which in that descendant of kings was great, betrayed the wound 
it received from the insulting epithets of the priest in the quiver 
of his lip and the flush of his tawny brow. 

" Hush ! more low! thou mayest be overheard, and if other 
ears than mine had drunk those sounds why " 



4.z THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Dost thou threaten? what if the whole city had heard me?" 
" The manes of my ancestors would not have suffered me to 
forgive thee. But, hold, and hear me. Thou art enraged that 
I would have offered violence to thy sister. Nay, peace, peace, 
but one instant, I pray thee. Thou art right ; it was the frenzy 
of passion and of jealousy I have repented bitterly of my mad- 
ness. Forgive me ; I who never implored pardon of living man, 
beseech thee now to forgive me. Nay, I will atone the insult I 
ask thy sister in marriage ; start not, consider, what is the 
alliance of yon holiday Greek compared to mine ? Wealth un- 
bounded birth that in its far antiquity leaves your Greek and 
Roman names the things of yesterday science but that thou 
knowest 1 Give me thy sister, and my whole life shall atone a 
moment's error." 

" Egyptian ! were even I to consent, my sister loathes the very 
air thou breathest ; but I have my own wrongs to forgive I may 
pardon thee that thou hast made me a tool to thy deceits, but 
never that thou hast seduced me to become the abettor of thy 
vices a polluted and a perjured man. Tremble ! even now I 
prepare the hour in which thou and thy false gods shall be un- 
veiled. Thy lewd and Circean life shall be dragged to day thy 
mumming oracles disclosed the fane of the idol Isis shall be a 
by-word and a scorn the royal name of Arbaces a mark for the 
hisses of execration. Tremble ! " 

The flush on the Egyptian's brow was succeeded by a livid 
paleness. He looked behind, before, around, to feel assured 
that none was by, and then he fixed his dark and dilating eye on 
the priest, with such a gaze of wrath and menace, that one, per- 
haps, less supported than Apagcides by the fervent daring of 
a divine zeal, could not have faced with unflinching look that 
lowering aspect. As it was, however, the young convert met it 
unmoved, and returned it with an eye of proud defiance. 

"Apaecides," said the Egyptian, in a tremulous and inward 
tone, "beware! What is it thou wouldst meditate? Speakest 
thou reflect, pause, before thou repliest from the hasty influ- 
ences of wrath, as yet divining no settled purpose, or from some 
fixed design?" 

" I speak from the inspiration of the true God, whose servant 
I now am," answered the Christian, boldly ; "and in the know- 
ledge that by His grace human courage has already fixed the 
date of thy hypocrisy and thy demon's worship. Ere thrice the 
sun has dawned, thou wilt know all 1 Dark sorcerer, tremble, 
and farewell!" 

All the fierce and lurid passions which he inherited from his 
nation and his clime, at all times but ill concealed beneath the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 243 

blandness of craft and the coldness of philosophy, were released 
in the breast of the Egyptian. Rapidly one thought chased 
another ; he saw before him an obstinate barrier to even a lawful 
alliance with lone the fellow-champion of Glaucus in the strug- 
gle which had baffled his designs the reviler of his name the 
threatened desecrator of the goddess he served while he disbe- 
lieved the avowed and approaching revealer of his own im- 
postures and vices. His love, his repute nay, his very life 
might be in danger the day and hour seemed even to have 
been fixed for some design against him. He knew by the words 
of the convert that Apaecides had adopted the Christian faith ; 
he knew the indomitable zeal which led on the proselytes of that 
creed. Such was his enemy ; he grasped his stilus that enemy 
was in his power ! They were now before the chapel ; one hasty 
glance once more he cast around ; he saw none near silence and 
solitude alike tempted him. 

" Die, then, in thy rashness," he muttered; "away, obstacle 
to my rushing fates!" 

And just as the young Christian had turned to depart, Arbaces 
raised his hand high over the left shoulder of Apsecides, and 
plunged his sharp weapon twice into his breast. 

Apaecides fell to the ground pierced to the heart ; he fell mute, 
without even a groan, at the very base of the sacred chapel. 

Arbaces gazed upon him for a moment with the fierce animal 
joy of conquest over a foe. But presently the full sense of the 
danger to which he was exposed flashed upon him ; he wiped his 
weapon carefully in the long grass, and with the very garments 
of his victim ; drew his cloak around him, and was about to de- 
part, when he saw, coming up the path, right before him, the 
figure of a young man, whose steps reeled and vacillated strange- 
ly as he advanced. The quiet moonlight streamed full upon his 
face, which seemed by the whitening ray colourless as marble. 
The Egyptian recognised the face and form of Glaucus. The 
unfortunate and benighted Greek was chanting a disconnected 
and mad song, composed from snatches of hymns and sacred 
odes, all jarringly woven together. 

"Ha!" thought the Egyptian, instantaneously divining his 
state and its terrible cause; "so, the hell-draught works, 
and destiny hath sent thee hither to crush two of my foes at 
once !" 

Quickly, even ere this thought occurred to him, he had with- 
drawn on one side of the chapel, and concealed himself amongst 
the boughs. From that lurking-place he watched, as a tiger in 
its lair, the advance of his second victim. He noted the wan- 
dering and restless fire in the bright and beautiful eyes of the 



244 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Athenian ; the convulsions that distorted his statue-like features, 
and writhed his hueless lip. He saw that the Greek was utterly 
deprived of reason. Nevertheless, as Glaucus came up to the 
dead body of Apascides, from which the dark red stream flowed 
slowly over the grass, so strange and ghastly a spectacle could 
not fail to arrest him, benighted and erring as was his glimmer- 
ing sense. He paused, placed his hand to his brow, as if to col- 
lect himself, and then saying 

"What, ho! Endymion, sleepest thou so soundly? What 
has the moon said to thee? Thou makest me jealous ; it is time 
to wake." He stooped down with the intention of lifting up the 
body. 

Forgetting feeling not his own debility, the Egyptian sprang 
from his hiding-place, and, as the Greek bent, struck him forcibly 
to the ground, over the very body of the Christian ; then, raising 
his powerful voice to its loudest pitch,- he shouted 

"Ho, citizens, ho! help me! run hither hither! A mur- 
der a murder before your very fanel Help, or the murderer 
escapes ! " As he spoke, he placed his foot on the breast of 
Glaucus ; an idle and superfluous precaution ; for the potion 
operating with the fall, the Greek lay there motionless and insen- 
sible, save that now and then his lips gave vent to some vague 
and raving sounds. 

As he there stood awaiting the coming of those his voice still 
continued to summon, perhaps some remorse, some compunc- 
tious visitings for despite his crimes he was human haunted 
the breast of the Egyptian ; the defenceless state of Glaucus 
his wandering words his riven reason, smote him even more 
than the death of Apoecides, and he said, half audibly, to him- 
self 

" Poor clay poor human reason ! where is the soul now f 
I could spare thee, O my rival rival never more ! But destiny 
must be obeyed my safety demands thy sacrifice." With that 
as if to drown compunction, he shouted yet more loudly, and 
drawing from the girdle of Glaucus the stylus it contained, he 
steeped in the blood of the murdered man, and laid it beside the 
corpse. 

And now, fast and breathless, several of the citizens came 
thronging to the place, some with torches, which the moon ren- 
dered unnecessary, but which flared red and tremulously against 
the darkness of the trees ; they surrounded the spot. 

" Lift up yon corpse, "said the Egyptian, "and guard well the 
murderer." 

They raised the body, and great was their horror and sacred 
indignation to discover in that lifeless clay a priest of the adored 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 245 

and venerable Isis ; but still greater, perhaps, was their surprise, 
when they found the accused in the brilliant and admired 
Athenian. 

' Glaucus !" cried the bystanders, with one accord ; " is it even 
credible?" 

" I would sooner," whispered one man to his neighbour, " be- 
lieve it to be the Egyptian himself." 

Here a centurian thrust himself into the gathering crowd, with 
an air of authority. 

" How ! blood spilt! who the murderer?" 

The bystanders pointed to Glaucus. 

"He! by Mars, he has rather the air of being the victim! 
Who accuses him?" 

"/," said Arbaces, drawing himself up haughtily; and the 
jewels which adorned his dress flashing in the eyes of the 
soldier, instantly convinced that worthy warrior of the witness's 
respectability. 

" Pardon me your name?" said he. 

"Arbaces; it is well known methinks in Pompeii. Passing 
through the grove, I beheld before me the Greek and the priest 
in earnest conversation. I was struck by the reeling motions of 
the first, his violent gestures, and the loudness of his voice ; he 
seemed to me either drank or mad. Suddenly I saw him raise 
his stilus I darted forward too late to arrest the blow. He 
had twice stabbed his victim, and was bending over him, when, 
in my horror and indignation, I struck the murderer to the 
ground. He fell without a struggle, which makes me yet more 
suspect that he was not altogether in his senses when the crime 
was perpetrated ; for, recently recovered from a severe illness, my 
blow was comparatively feeble, and the frame of Glaucus, as you 
see, is strong and youthful." 

"His eyes are open now his lips move," said the soldier. 
" Speak, prisoner, what sayest thou to the charge?" 

" The charge ha ha ! Why, it was merrily done when the 
old hag set her serpent at me, and Hecate stood by laughing from 
ear to ear what could I do ? But I am ill I faint the serpent's 
fiery tongue hath bitten me. Bear me to bed, and send for your 
physician ; old .ZEsculapius himself will attend me if you let him 
know that I am Greek. Oh, mercy mercy I burn ! marrow 
and brain, I burn !" 

And with a thrilling and fierce groan, the Athenian fell back in 
the arms of the bystanders. 

"He raves," said the officer, compassionately; "and in his 
delirium he has struck the priest. Hath any one present seen 
him to-day?" 



246 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"I," said one of the spectators, " beheld him in the morning. 
He passed my shop and accosted me. He seemed well and 
sane as the stoutest of us." 

"And I saw him half an hour ago," said another; "passing 
up the streets, muttering to himself with strange gestures, and 
just as the Egyptian has described." 

' ' A corroboration of witness ; it must be too true. He must 
at all events to the praetor ; a pity, so young and so rich. But 
the crime is dreadful ; a priest of Isis in his very robes too, and 
at the base itself of our most ancient chapel ! " 

At these words the crowd were reminded more forcibly, 
than in their excitement and curiosity they had yet been, of 
the heniousness of the sacrilege. They shuddered in pious 
horror. 

" No wonder the earth has quaked," said one, " when it held 
such a monster!" 

" Away with him to prison away!" cried they all. 

And one solitary voice was heard shrilly and joyously above 
the rest, 

" The beasts will not want a gladiator now. 'Ho hot for the 
merry, merry show /" 

It was the voice of the young woman, whose conversation with 
Medon has been repeated. 

vTrue true it chances in season for the games;" cried 
several : and at that thought all pity for the accused seemed 
vanished. His youth, his beauty, but fitted him better for the 
purpose of the arena. 

" Bring hither some planks or if at hand, a litter to bear 
the dead," said Arbaces ; "a priest of Isis ought scarcely to 
be carried to his temple by vulgar hands, like a butchered 
gladiator." 

At this, the bystanders reverently laid the corpse of Apaecides 
on the ground, with the face upwards, and some of them went 
in search of some contrivance to bear the body untouched by the 
profane. 

It was just at that time that the crowd gave way to right and 
left as a sturdy form forced itself through, and Olinthus the Chris- 
tian stood immediately confronting the Egyptian. But his eyes, 
at first, only rested with inexpressible grief and horror on that 
gory side and upturned face, on which the agony of violent death 
yet lingered. 

" Murdered !" he said. " Is it thy zeal that has brought thee 
to this ? Have they detected thy noble purpose, and by deatft 
prevented their crwn shame?" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 247 

He turned his head abruptly, and his eyes fell full on the 
solemn features of the Egyptian. 

As he looked, you might see in his face, and even the slight 
shiver of his frame, the repugnance and aversion which the 
Christian felt for one whom he knew to be so dangerous and 
so criminal. It was indeed the gaze of the bird upon the 
basilisk so silent was it and so prolonged. But shaking off 
the sudden chill that had crept over him, Olinthus extended 
his right arm towards Arbaces, and said in a deep and loud 
voice, 

" Murder hath been done upon this corpse ! Where is the 
murderer ! Stand forth, Egyptian ! For, as the Lord liveth, I 
believe thou art the man I" 

An anxious and perturbed change might for one moment be 
detected on the dusky features of Arbaces ; but it gave way to the 
frowning expression of indignation and scorn, as, awed and 
arrested by the suddenness and vehemence of the charge, the 
spectators pressed nearer and nearer upon the two more promi- 
nent actors. 

"I know," said Arbaces, proudly, "who is my accuser, and 
I guess wherefore he thus arraigns me. Men and citizens, 
know this man for the most bitter of the Nazarenes, if that or 
Christians be their proper name. What marvel that in his 
malignity he dares accuse even an Egyptian of the murder of a 
priest of Egypt ?" 

"I know him! I know the dog !" shouted several voices. "It 
is Olinthus the Christian or rather the Atheist he denies the 
gods !" 

" Peace, brethren," said Olinthus, with dignity, " and hear me. 
This murdered priest of Isis before his death embraced the Chris- 
tian faith he revealed to me the dark sins, the sorceries of yon 
Egyptian the mummeries and delusions of the fane of Isis. He 
was about to declare them publicly. He, a stranger, unoffending, 
without enemies ; who should shed his blood but one of those who 
feared his witness ? Who might fear that testimony the most ? 
Arbaces the Egyptian!" 

"You hear him!" said Arbaces; "you hear him! he blas- 
phemes ! Ask him, if he believes in Isis?" 

" Do I believe in an evil demon?" returned Olinthus, boldly. 

A groan and shudder passed through the assembly. Nothing 
daunted for prepared at every time for peril, and in the present 
excitement losing all prudence, the Christian continued 

" Back, idolaters ! this clay is not for your vain and polluting 
rites it is to us to the followers of Christ, that the last offices 



248 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

due to a Christian belong. I claim this dust in the name of the 
great Creator who has recalled the spirit." 

With so solemn and commanding a voice and aspect the 
Christian spoke these words, that even the crowd forbore to utter 
aloud the execrations of fear and hatred which in their hearts 
they conceived. And never, perhaps, since Lucifer and the 
Archangel contended for the body of the mighty Lawgiver, was 
there a mere striking subject for the painter's genius than that 
scene exhibited. The dark trees the stately fane the moon 
full on the corpse of the deceased the torches tossing wildly 
to and fro in the rear the various faces of the motley audience 
the insensible form of the Athenian, supported in the dis- 
tance : and in the foreground, and, above all, the forms of 
Arbaces and the Christian: the first drawn to his full height, far 
taller than the herd around ; his arms folded, his brow knit, his 
eyes fixed, his lip slightly curled in defiance and disdain. The 
last, bearing on a brow worn and furrowed the majesty of an 
equal command the features stern, yet frank the aspect bold, 
yet open the quiet dignity of the whole form impressed with 
an ineffable earnestness, hushed, as it were, in a solemn 
sympathy with the awe he himself had created. His left hand 
pointing to the corpse his right hand raised to heaven. 

The centurion pressed forward again. 

" In the first place, hast thou, Olinthus, or whatever be thy 
name, any proof of the charge thou hast made against Arbaces, 
beyond thy vague suspicion?" 

Olinthus remained silent the Egyptian laughed contemptu- 
ously. 

" Dost thou claim the body of a priest of Isis as one of the 
Nazarene or Christian sect ?" 

" I do." 

" Swear, then, by yon fane, yon statue of Cybele, by yon most 
ancient sacellum in Pompeii, that the dead man embraced your 
faith." 

' ' Vain man ! I disown your idols ! I abhor your temples ! 
How can I swear by Cybele, then?" 

"Away ! away with the atheist ; away, the earth will swallow 
us if we suffer these blasphemers in the sacred grove away with 
him to death." 

" To the beasts" added a female voice in the centre of the 
crowd ; " we shall have one a-piece now for the lion and tiger. " 

"If, O Nazarene, thou disbelieves! in Cybele, which of our 
gods dost thou own ?" resumed the soldier, unmoved by the cries 
around. 

"None I" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 249 

" Hark to him ! hark !" cried the crowd. 

" O vain and blind!" continued the Christian, raising his voice, 
" can you believe in images of wood and stone? Do you imagine 
that they have eyes to see, or ears to hear, or hands to help ye ? 
Is yon mute thing, carved by man's art, a goddess ? hath it made 
mankind ? alas ! by mankind was it made. Lo ! convince your- 
selves of its nothingness of your folly!" 

And as he spoke he strode across to the fane, and ere any ol 
the bystanders were aware of his purpose, he, in his compassion 
or his zeal, struck the statue of wood from its pedestal. 

"See 1" cried he, "your goddess cannot avenge herself. Is this 
a thing to worship ?" 

Further words were denied to him ; so gross and daring a. 
sacrilege, of one too of the most sacred of their places of worship, 
filled even the most lukewarm with rage and horror. With one 
accord, the crowd rushed upon him, seized, and but for the inter- 
ference of the centurion, they would have torn him to pieces. 

"Peace!" said the soldier, authoritatively, "refer we this 
insolent blasphemer to the proper tribunal time has been already 
wasted. Bear we both the culprits to the magistrates ; place the 
body of the priest on the litter carry it to his own home." 

At this moment a priest of Isis stepped forward. ' ' I claim 
these remains, according to the custom of the priesthood." 

" The flamen be obeyed," said the centurion. " How is the 
murderer ?" 

" Insensible, or asleep." 

" Were his crime less, I could pity him On !" 

Arbaces, as he turned, met the eye of that priest of Isis it 
was Calenus ; and something there was in that glance, so signi- 
ficant and sinister, that the Egyptian muttered to himself 

" Could he have witnessed the deed !" 

A girl darted from the crowd, and gazed hard on the face of 
Olinthus. ' ' By Jupiter, a stout knave ! I say, we shall have 
a man for the tiger now ; one for each beast huzzahf 

" Huzzah !" shouted the mob, "a man for the lion and another 
for the tiger. What luck ! huzzah !" 

CHAPTER VII. 

IN WHICH THE READER LEARNS THE CONDITION OF GLAUCUS. 
FRIENDSHIP TESTED. ENMITY SOFTENED. LOVE THE 
SAME ; BECAUSE THE ONE LOVING IS BLIND. 

THE night was somewhat advanced, and the gay lounging- 
places of the Pompeians were still crowded. You might 
Observe in the countenances of the various idlers a more earnest 



250 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

expression than usual. They talked in large knots and groups, 
as if they sought by numbers to divide the half-painful, half- 
pleasurable anxiety which belonged to the subject on which 
they conversed : It was a subject of life and death. 

A young man passed briskly by the graceful portico of the 
Temple of Fortune so briskly, indeed, that he came with no 
slight force full against the rotund and comely form of that 
respectable citizen, Diomed, who was retiring homeward to his 
surburban villa. 

" Halloa!" groaned the merchant, recovering with some dffi- 
culty his epuilibrium ; ' ' have you no eyes ? or do you think I 
have no feeling ? By Jupiter 1 you have well-nigh driven out 
the divine particle. Such another shock, and my soul will be 
in Hades !" 

"Ah, Diomed! is it you? Forgive my inadvertence. I was 
absorbed in thinking of the reverses of life. Our poor friend, 
Glaucus, eh ? who could have guessed it ?" 

"Well, but tell me, Clodius, is he really to be tried by the 
senate ?" 

" Yes ; they say the crime is of so extraordinary a nature that 
the senate itself must adjudge it : and so the lictors are to induct 
him* formally." 

" He has been accused publicly, then?" 

" To be sure ; where have you been not to hear that?" 

"Why, I have only just returned from Neapolis, whither I 
went on business the very morning after his crime. So shocking, 
and at my house the same night that it happened 1" 

" There is no doubt of his guilt," said Clodius, shrugging his 
shoulders ; "and as these crimes take precedence of all little un- 
dignified peccadilloes, they will hasten to finish the sentence 
previous to the games." 

"The games! Good gods! 1 ' replied Diomed, with a slight 
shudder ; ' ' can they adjudge him to the beasts ? so young, so 
rich ?" 

" True : but then he is a Greek. Had he been a Roman, it 
would have been a thousand pities. These foreigners can be 
borne with in their prosperity, but in adversity we must not for- 
get that they are in reality slaves. However, we of the upper 
classes are always tender-hearted ; and he would certainly get off 
tolerably well if he were left to us ; for, between ourselves, what 
is a paltry priest of Isis? what Isis herself? But the common 
people are superstitious ; they clamour for the blood of the 
sacrilegious one. It is dangerous not to give way to public 

opinion." 

Plin.Ep.ii.il, 12; v. 4, 13. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 251 

"And the blasphemer the Christian, or Nazarene, or what- 
ever else he be called ?'' 

"Oh, poor dog! if he will sacrifice to Cybele or Isis, he will 
be pardoned ; if not, the tiger has him. At least, so I suppose ; 
but the trial will decide. We talk while the urn's still empty. 
And the Greek may yet escape the deadly 0* of his own 
alphabet. But enough of this gloomy subject. How is the 
fair Julia?" 

"Well, I fancy." 

" Commend me to her. But hark ! the door yonder creaks on 
its hinges ; it is the house of the praetor. Who comes forth ? 
By Pollux ! it is the Egyptian ! What can he want with our 
official friend?" 

"Some conference touching the murder, doubtless," replied 
Diomed. ' ' But what was supposed to be the inducement to 
the crime? Glaucus was to have married the priest's sister." 

"Yes; some say Apsecides refused the alliance. It might 
have been a sudden quarrel. Glaucus was evidently inebriate ; 
nay, so much so as to have been quite insensible when taken 
up, and I hear is still delirious whether with wine, terror, 
remorse, the Furies, or the Bacchanals, I cannot say." 

" Poor fellow ! he has good counsel?" 

"The best Caius Pollio, an eloquent fellow enough. Pollio 
has been hiring all the poor gentlemen and well-born spend- 
thrifts of Pompeii to dress shabbily and sneak about, swearing 
their friendship to Glaucus (who would not have spoken to them 
to be made emperor! I will do him justice, he was a gentle- 
man in his choice of acquaintance,) and trying to melt the stony 
citizens into pity. But it won't do : Isis is mighty popular just 
at this moment." 

"And, by-the-by, "I have some merchandise at Alexandria. 
Yes, Isis ought to be protected." 

" True : so farewell, old gentleman ; we shall meet soon ; if 
not, we must have a friendly bet at the amphitheatre. All my 
calculations are confounded by this cursed misfortune of Glaucus. 
He had bet on Lydon, the gladiator ; I must make up my 
tablets elsewhere. Vale T' 

Leaving the less active Diomed to regain his villa, Clodius 
strode on, humming a Greek air, and perfuming the night with 
the odours that streamed from his snowy garments and flowing 
locks.. 

" If," thought he, " Glaucus feed the lion, Julia will no longer 
have a person to love better than me. She will certainly dote 

0, the initial of Qdvaros (Death), the condemning letter of the Greeks, 
as C was of the Eomaus, 



252 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

on me ; and so, I suppose. I must marry. By the gods I the 
twelve lines begin to fail ; men look suspiciously at my hand 
when it rattles the dice. That infernal Sallust insinuates cheat- 
ing ; and if it be discovered that the ivory is cogged, why fare- 
well to the merry supper and the perfum ed billet ; Clodius is 
undone ! Better marry, then, while I may, renounce gaming, 
and push my fortune, or rather the gentle Julia's at the imperial 
court." 

Thus muttering the schemes of his ambition, if by that high 
name the projects of Clodius may be called, the gamester found 
himself suddenly accosted : he turned, and beheld the dark brow 
of Arbaces. 

"Hail, noble Clodius! pardon my interruption ; and inform 
me, I pray you, which is the house of Sallust?" 

" It is but a few yards hence, wise Arbaces. But does Sallust 
entertain to night?" 

" I know not," answered the Egyptian ; " nor am I, perhaps, 
one of those whom he would seek as a boon companion. But 
thou knowest that his house holds the person of Glaucus, the 
murderer." 

' ' Ay I he, good-hearted epicure, believes in the Greek's inno- 
cence! You remind me that he has become his surety; and, 
therefore, till the trial, is responsible for his appearance.* 
Well, Sallust's house is better than a prison, especially that 
wretched hole in the forum. But for what can you seek 
Glaucus ?" 

" Why, noble Clodius, if we could save him from execution it 
would be well. The condemnation of the rich is a blow upon 
society itself. I should like to confer with him for I hear he 
has recovered his senses and ascertain the motives of his crime, 
they may be so extenuating as to plead in his defence." 

"You are benevolent, Arbaces." 

"Benevolence is the duty of one who aspires to wisdom," 
replied the Egyptian, modestly. "Which way lies Sallust's 
mansion ?" 

"I will show you," said Clodius, "if you will suffer me to 
accompany you a few steps. But, pray what has become of 
the poor girl who was to have wed the Athenian the sister of 
the murdered priest ?" 

" Alas ! well-nigh insane. Sometimes she utters imprecations 
on the murderer then suddenly stops short then cries, ' But 
why curse? Oh, my brother! Glaucus was not thy murderer 
never will I believe it!' Then she begins again, and again 

If a criminal could obtain surety (called vades in capital offences,) he 
was not compelled to lie in prison till after sentence. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 253 

stops short, and mutters awfully to herself, ' Yet if it were 
indeed he !" 

" Unfortunate lone!" 

"But it is well for her that those solemn cares to the dead 
which religion enjoins have hitherto greatly absorbed her atten- 
tion from Glaucus and herself ; and, in the dimness of her senses, 
she scarcely seems aware that Glaucus is apprehended and on 
the eve of trial. When the funeral rites are performed, her 
apprehension will return ; and then I fear me much that her 
friends will be revolted by seeing her run to succour and aid the 
murderer of her brother !" 

" Such scandal should be prevented." 

" I trust I have taken precautions to that effect. I am her 
lawful guardian, and have just succeeded in obtaining permission 
to escort her, after the burial of Apsecides, to my own house : 
there, please the gods ! she will be secure." 

' ' You have done well, sage Arbaces. And now, yonder is the 
house of Sallust. The gods keep you ! Yet, hark you, Arbaces; 
why so gloomy and unsocial ? Men say you can be gay ; why 
not let me initiate you into the pleasures of Pompeii ? I flatter 
myself no one knows them better." 

' ' I thank you, noble Clodius ; under your auspices I might 
venture, I think, to wear the philyra ; but, at my age, I should 
be an awkward pupil." 

"Oh, never fear ; I have made converts of fellows of seventy. 
The rich, too, are never old." 

" You flatter me. At some future time I will remind you of 
your promise." 

' ' You may command Marcus Clodius at all times ; and so, 
vale !" 

" Now, "said the Egyptian, soliloquising, " I am not wantonly 
a man of blood : I would willingly save this Greek, if, by con- 
fessing the crime, he will lose himself for ever to lone, and for 
ever free me from the chance of discovery ; and I can save him 
by persuading Julia to own the philtre, which will be held his 
excuse. But if he do not confess the crime, why Julia must be 
shamed from the confession, and he must die! die, lest he 
prove my rival with the living die, that he may be my proxy 
with the dead. Will he confess? can he not be persuaded that 
in his delirium he struck the blow ? To me it would give far 
greater safety than even his death. Hem ! we must hazard the 
experiment." 

Sweeping along the narrow street, Arbaces now approached 
the house of Sallust, when he beheld a dark form, wrapped in a 
cloak, and stretched at length across the threshold of the door. 



254 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

So still lay the figure, and so dim was its outline, tli.it any 
other than Arbaces might have felt a superstitious fear lest he 
beheld one of those grim le mures, who, above all other spots, 
haunted the threshold of the homes they formerly possessed. 
But not for Arbaces were such dreams. 

"Rise!" said he, touching the figure with his foot; "thou 
obstructest the way !" 

"Ha! who art thou?" cried the form, in a sharp tone; and 
as she raised herself from the ground, the star-light fell full on 
the pale face and fixed but sightless eyes of Nydia the Thessa- 
lian. "Who art thou? I know the burden of thy voice." 

"Blind girl! what dost thou here at this late hour? Fie! is 
this seeming thy sex or years? Home, girl!" 

" I know thee," said Nydia, in a low voice; "thou art Arbaces 
the Egyptian :" then, as if inspired by some sudden impulse, she 
flung herself at his feet, and clasping his knees, exclaimed, in a 
wild and passionate tone, " Oh dread and potent man ! save him 
save him ! He is not guilty it is I ! He lies within, ill, dying 
and I I am .the hateful cause ! And they will not admit me 
to him ; they spurn the blind girl from the hall. O, heal him ; 
thou knowest some herb some spell some counter-charm ; for 
it is a portion that hath wrought this frenzy !" 

" Hush, child 1 I know all ; thou forgettest that I accompanied 
Julia to the Saga's home. Doubtless her hand administered the 
draught ; but her reputation demands thy silence. Reproach not 
thyself what must be, must. Meanwhile, I seek the criminal 
he may yet be saved. Away !" 

Thus saying, Arbaces extricated himself from the clasp of the 
despairing Tkessalian, and knocked loudly at the door. 

In a few moments the heavy bars were heard sullenly to 
yield, and the porter, half opening the doot, demanded who 
was there. 

"Arbaces! important business to Sallust relative to Glaucus. 
I come from the pros tor." 

The porter, half yawning, half groaning, admitted the tall form 
of the Egyptian. Nydia sprang forward. "How is he?" she 
cried ; " tell me, tell me !" 

" Ho ! mad girl, is it thou still! for shame ! Why, they say 
he is sensible." 

" The gods be praised I and you will not admit me? Ah! I 
beseech thee " 

"Admit thee! no. A pretty salute I should prepare for 
these shoulders were I to admit such things as thou I Go 
home I" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 255 

The door closed, and Nydia, with a deep sigh, laid herself 
down once more on the cold stones ; and, wrapping her cloak 
round her face, resumed her weary vigil. 

Meanwhile, Arbaces had already gained the triclinium, where 
Sallust, with his favourite reedman, sat late at supper. 

"What! Arbaces! and at this hour ! Accept this cup." 

"Nay, gentle Sallust; it is on business, not pleasure, that I 
venture to disturb thee. How doth thy charge ? They, say in 
the town that he has recovered sense." 

"Alas! and truly," replied the good-natured but thoughtless 
Sallust, wiping the tear from his eyes ; " but so shattered are his 
nerves and frame that I scarcely recognise the brilliant and gay 
carouser I was wont to know. Yet, strange to say, he cannot 
account for the cause of the sudden frenzy that seized him ; he 
retains but a dim consciousness of what hath passed ; and, 
despite thy witness, wise Egyptian, solemnly upholds his inno- 
cence of the death of Apsecides." 

"Sallust," said Arbaces, gravely, "there is much in thy 
friend's case that merits a peculiar indulgence ; and could we 
learn from his lips the confession and the cause of his crime, 
much might be yet hoped from the mercy of the senate; for 
the senate, thou knowest, hath the power either to mitigate or 
to sharpen the law. Therefore it is that I have conferred with 
the highest authority of the city, and obtained his permission 
to hold a private conference this night with the Athenian. To- 
morrow, thou knowest, the trial comes on." 

"Well," said Sallust; "thou wilt be worthy of thy Eastern 
name and fame if thou canst learn aught from him ; but thou 
mayst try. Poor Glaucus ! and he had such an excellent appe- 
tite ! He eats nothing now !" 

The benevolent epicure was moved sensibly at this thought. 
He sighed, and ordered his slaves to refill his cup. 

"Night wanes," said the Egyptian; "suffer me to see thy 
ward now." 

Sallust nodded assent, and led the way to a small chamber, 
guarded without by two dozing slaves. The door opened at 
the request of Arbaces, Sallust withdrew ; the Egyptian was 
alone with Glaucus. 

One of those tall and graceful candelabra common to that 
day, supporting a single lamp, burned beside the narrow bed. 
Its rays fell palely over the face of the Athenian, and Arbaces 
was moved to see how sensibly that countenance had changed. 
The rich colour was gone, the cheek was sunk, the lips were 
convulsed and pallid; fierce had been the struggle between 
reason and madness, life and death. The youth, the strength 



256 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of Glaucus had conquered ; but the freshness of blood and 
soul, the life of life, its glory and its zest, were gone for ever. 

The Egyptian seated himself quietly beside the bed ; Glaucus 
still lay mute and unconscious of his presence. At length, after 
a considerable pause, Arbaces thus spoke : 

" Glaucus, we have been enemies. I come to thee alone, and 
in the dead of night ; thy friend, perhaps thy saviour." 

As the steed starts from the path of the tiger, Glaucus sprang 
up breathless, alarmed, panting at the abrupt voice, the suddcm 
apparition of his foe. Their eyes met, and neither, for some 
moments, had power to withdraw his gaze. The flush went 
and came over the face of the Athenian, and the bronzed cheek 
of the Egyptian grew a shade more pale. At length, with an 
inward groan, Glaucus turned away, drew his hand across his 
brow, sunk back, and muttered 

"Am I still dreaming?" 

" No, Glaucus, thou art awake. By this right hand and my 
father's head, thou seest one who may save thy life. Hark ! I 
know what thou hast done, but I know also its excuse, of 
which thou thyself art ignorant. Thou hast committed murder, 
it is true a sacrilegious murder : frown not start not these 
eyes saw it. But I can save thee I can prove how thou wert 
bereaved of sense, and made not a free-thinking and free-acting 
man. But in order to save thee, thou must confess thy crime. 
Sign but this paper, acknowledging thy hand in the death of 
Apaecides, and thou shall avoid the fatal urn." 

' ' What words are these ? Murder, and Apaecides ! Did I 
not see him stretched on the ground bleeding and a corpse? 
And wouldst thou persuade me that / did the deed ? Man, thou 
liest! Away!" 

"Be not rash Glaucus, be not hasty; the deed is proved. 
Come, come, thou mayest well be excused for not recalling the 
act of thy delirium, and which thy sober senses would have 
shunned even to contemplate. But let me try to refresh thy 
exhausted and weary memory. Thou knowest thou wert walk- 
ing with the priest, disputing about his sister ; thou knowest he 
was intolerant, and half a Nazarene, and he sought to convert 
thee, and ye had hot words ; and he calumniated thy mode of 
life, and swore he would not marry lone to thee ; and then, in 
thy wrath and thy frenzy, thou didst strike the sudden blow. 
Come, come! you can recollect this? Read this papyrus, it 
runs to that effect. Sign it, and thou art saved 1" 

"Barbarian! give me the written lie, that I may tear it! / 
the murderer of lone's brother ! / confess to have injured one 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 257 

hair of the head of him she loved ! Let me rather perish a 
thousand times !" 

" Beware!" said Arb'*ces, In a low and hissing tone ; " there is 
but one choice thy confession and thy signature, or the amphi- 
theatre and the lion's maw I 1 ' 

As the Egyptian fixed his eyes upon the sufferer, he hailed 
with joy the signs of evident emotion that seized the latter at 
these words. A slight shudder passed over the Athenian's 
frame, his lip fell, an expression of sudden fear and wonder 
betrayed itself in his brow and eye. 

"Great gods!" he said, in a low voice, ''what reverse is 
this? It seems but a little day since life laughed out from 
amidst roses lone mine youth, health, love, lavishing on me 
their treasures ; and now pain, madness, shame, death ! And 
for what? what have I done? Oh, I am mad still !" 

"Sign, and be saved!" said the soft sweet voice of the 
Egyptian. 

"Tempter, never!" cried Glaucus, in the reaction of rage. 
' ' Thou knowest me not ; thou knowest not the haughty soul 
of an Athenian ! The sudden face of death might appal me 
for a moment, but the fear is over. Dishonour appals for ever ! 
Who will debase his name to save his life ? who exchange clear 
thoughts for sullied days? who will belie himself to shame, and 
stand blackened in the eyes of glory and of love ? If to earn 
a few years of polluted life there be so base a coward, dream 
not, dull barbarian of Egypt ! to find him in one who has trod 
the same sod as Harmodius, and drunk the same air as Socrates. 
Go ! leave me to live without self-reproach or to perish without 
fear !" 

' ' Bethink thee well ! the lion's fangs ; the hoots of the brutal 
mob ; the vulgar gaze on thy dying agony and mutilated limbs, 
thy name degraded ; thy corpse unburied ; the shame thou 
wouldst avoid clinging to thee for aye and ever !" 

"Thouravest! thou ail the madman! Shame is not in the 
loss of other men's esteem it is in the loss of our own. Wilt 
thou go ? my eyes loathe the sight of thee ; hating ever, I 
despise thee now !" 

" I go !" said Arbaces, stung and exasperated, but not without 
some pitying admiration of his victim ; " I go ; we meet twice 
again once at the Trial ; once at the Death ! Farewell !" 

The Egyptian rose slowly, gathered his robes about him, and 
left the chamber. He sought Sallust for a moment, whose eyes 
began to reel with the vigils of the cup : " He is still unconscious, 
or still obstinate ; there is no hope for him." 

"Say not so," replied Sallust, who felt but little resentment 

Q 



258 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

against the Athenian's accuser, for he possessed no great austerity 
of virtue, and was rather moved by his friend's reverses than per- 
suaded of his innocence, ' ' say not so, my Egyptian ! so 
good a drinker shall be saved if possible. Bacchus against 
Isis!" 

" We shall see,' 1 said the Egyptian. 

Sullenly the bolts were again withdrawn, the door unclosed ; 
Arbaces was in the open street ; and poor Nydia once more 
started from her long watch. 

" Wilt thou save him?" she cried, clasping her hands. 

" Child, follow me home ; I would speak to thee it is for his 
sake I ask it." 

" And thou wilt save him?" 

No answer came forth to the thirsting ear of the blind girl ; 
Arbaces had already proceeded far up the street : she hesitated a 
moment, and then followed his steps in silence. 

" I must secure this girl," said he, musingly, "lest she give 
evidence of the philtre ; as to the vain Julia, she will not betray 
herself." 

CHAPTER VIII. 
A CLASSIC FUNERAL. 

WHILE Arbaces had been thus employed, Sorrow and Death 
were in the house of lone. It was the night preceding 
the morn in which the solemn funeral rites were to be decreed to 
the remains of the murdered Apsecides. The corpse had been 
removed from the temple of Isis to the house of the nearest sur- 
viving relative, and lone had heard, at the same breath, the death 
of her brother and the accusation against her betrothed. The 
first violent anguish which blunts the sense to all but itself, and 
the forbearing silence of her slaves, had prevented her learning 
minutely the circumstances attendant on the fate of her lover. 
His illness, his frenzy, and his approaching trial, were unknown 
to her. She learnt only the accusation against him, and at once 
indignantly rejected it ; nay, on hearing that Arbaces was the 
accuser, she required no more to induce her firmly and solemnly 
to believe that the Egyptian himself was the criminal. But the 
vast and absorbing importance attached by the ancients to the 
performance of every ceremonial connected with the death of a 
relation, had, as yet, confined her woe and her convictions to the 
chamber of the deceased. Alas ! it was not for her to perform 
that tender and touching office, which obliged the nearest relative 
to endeavour to catch the last breath the parting soul of the 
beloved one : but it was hers to close the straining eyes, the dis- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 259 

torted lips ; to watch by the consecrated clay, as, fresh bathed 
and anointed, it lay in festive robes upon the ivory bed ; to strew 
the couch with leaves and flowers, and to renew the solemn 
cypress-branch at the threshold of the door. And in these sad 
offices, in lamentation and in prayer, lone forgot herself. It was 
among the loveliest customs of the ancients to bury the young at 
the morning twilight ; for, as they strove to give the softest in- 
terpretation to death, so they poetically imagined that Aurora, 
who loved the young, had stolen them to her embrace ; and 
though in the instance of the murdered priest this fable could 
not appropriately cheat the fancy, the general custom was still 
preserved.* 

The stars were fading one by one from the grey heavens, and 
night slowly receding before the approach of morn, when a dark 
group stood motionless before Zone's door. High and slender 
torches, made paler by the unmellowed dawn, cast their light 
over various countenances, hushed for the moment in one 
solemn and intent expression. And now there rose a slow and 
dismal music, which accorded sadly with the rite, and floated 
far along the desolate and breathless streets ; while a chorus of 
female voices the Prasficae so often cited by the Roman poets 
accompanying the Tibicen and the Mysian flute, woke the follow- 
ing strain : 

THE FUNERAL DIKGE. 
O'er the sad threshold, where the cypress bough 

Supplants the rose that should adorn thy home, 
On the last pilgrimage on earth that now 

Awaits thee, wanderer to Cocytus, come ! 
Darkly we woo, and weeping we invite 

Death is thy host his banquet asks thy sou] ; 
Thy garlands hang within the House of Night. 

And the black stream alone shall nil thy bowl. 
No more for thee the laughter and the song, 

The jocund night the glory of the day ! 
The Argive daughters-!- at their labours long ; 
The hell-bird swooping on its Titan prey 
The false JEolidest upheaving slow, 

O'er the eternal hill, the eternal stone; 
The crowded Lydian,} in his parching woe, 

And green Callirrhog's monster-headed son,|| 
These shalt thou see, dim-shadowed through the dark, 

Which makes the sky of Pluto's dreary shore ! 
Lo ! where thou stand'st, pale-gazing on the barque 

That waits our riteT to bear tfaee trembling o'er I 

This was rather a Greek than a Roman custom : but the reader will ob- 
serve, that in the cities of Magna Grecia the Greek customs and supersti- 
tions were much mingled with the'Roman. 

+ The Dana'ides. t Sisyphus. ? Tantalus. || Geryon. 
1 The most idle novel reader need scarcely be reminded, that not till after 
the funeral rites were tfae dead carried over the Styx. 



260 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Come, then ! no more delay ! the phantom pines 

Atnktst the TJnburied for its latest home ; 
O'er the grey sky the torch impatient shines 

Coma, mourner, forth ! the lost one bids thee come. 

As the hymn died away, the group parted in twain ; and placed 
upon a couch, spread with a purple pall, the corpse of Apsecides 
was carried forth, with the feet foremost. The designator, or 
marshal of the sombre ceremonial, accompanied by his torch- 
bearers, clad in black, gave the signal, and the procession moved 
dreadly on. 

Finst went the musicians, playing a slow march the solemnity 
of the lower instruments broken by many a louder and wilder 
burst of the funeral trumpet ; next followed the hired mourners, 
chanting their dirges to the dead ; and the female voices were 
mingled with those of boys, whose tender years made still more 
striking the contrast of life and death the fresh leaf and the 
withered one. But the players, the buffoons, the archimimus 
whose duty it was to personate the dead these, the customary 
attendants at ordinary funerals, were banished from a funeral at- 
tended with so many terrible associations. 

The priests of Isis came next in theit snowy garments, bare- 
footed, and supporting sheaves of corn ; while before the corpse 
were carried the images of the deceased and his many Athenian 
forefathers. And behind the bier followed, amidst her women, 
the sole surviving relative of the dead her head bare, her locks 
dishevelled, her face paler than marble, but composed and still, 
save ever and anon, as some tender thought, awakened by 
the music, flashed upon the dark lethargy of woe, she covered 
that countenance with her hands, and sobbed unseen ; for hers 
was not the noisy sorrow, the shrill lament, the ungoverned 
gesture, which characterised those who honoured less faithfully. 
In that age, as in all, the channel of deep grief flowed hushed 
and still. 

And so the procession swept on, till it had traversed the streets, 
passed the city gate, and gained the Place of Tombs without th 
wall, which the traveller yet beholds. 

Raised in the form of an altar of unpolished pine, amidst 
whose interstices were placed preparations of combustible matter 
stood the funeral pyre ; and around it drooped the dark and 
gloomy cypresses so consecrated by song to the tomb. 

As soon as the bier was placed upon the pile, the attendants 
parting on either side, lone passed up to the couch, and stood 
before the unconscious clay for some moments motionless and 
silent. The features of the dead had been composed from the 
first agonised expression of violent death. Hushed for ever the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 261 

terror and the doubt, the contest of passion, the awe of religion, 
the struggle of the past and present, the hope and the horror of 
the future ! Of all that racked and desolated the breast of that 
young aspirant to the Holy of Life, what trace was visible in the 
awful serenity of that impenetrable brow and unbreathing lip ? 
The sister gazed, and not a sound was heard amidst the crowd ; 
there was something terrible, yet softening also, in the silence ; 
and when it broke, it broke sudden and abrupt, it broke with 
a loud and passionate cry, the event of long-smothered despair. 

" My brother, my brother!" cried the poor orphan, falling 
upon the couch ; ' ' thou whom the worm on thy path feared 
not what enemy couldst thou provoke? Oh! is it in truth 
come to this? Awake! awake! we grew together! Are we 
thus torn asunder ? Thou art not dead thou sleepest. Awake ! 
awake !" 

The sound of her piercing voice aroused the sympathy of the 
mourners, and they broke into loud and rude lament. This 
startled, this recalled lone. She looked hastily and confusedly 
up, as if for the first time sensible of the presence of those 
around." 

" Ah f she murmured with a shiver, "we are not then alone?' 

With that, after a brief pause, she rose, and her pale and 
beautiful countenance was again composed and rigid. With 
fond and trembling hands she unclosed the lids of the deceased,* 
but when the dull glazed eye, no longer beaming with love and 
life, met hers, she shrieked aloud, as if she had seen a spectre. 
Once more recovering herself, she kissed again and again the 
lids, the lips, the brow ; and, with mechanic and unconscious 
hand, received from the high priest of her brother's temple the 
fnneral torch. 

The sudden burst of music, the sudden song of the mourners, 
announced the birth of the sanctifying flame. 

HYMN TO THE WIND. 

On thy couch of cloud reclined, 

Wake, O soft and sacred Wind ! 

Soft and sacred will we name thee, 

Whosoe'er the sire that claim thee ; 

Whether old Auster's dusky child, 

Or the loud son of Eurus mid : 

Or hist who o'er the darkling deeps. 

From the bleak north, in tempests sweeps ; 

Still shalt thou seem as dear to us 

As flowery-crowned Zephyrus, 

When, through twilight's starry deM', 

Trembling, he hastes his nj-mpht to woe ! 

' Plin. ii. 37. t Boreas. % Rota, 



262 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Lo ! onr silver censers swinging, 
Perfumes o'er thy path are flinging ; 
Ne'er o'er Tempo's breathless wlleys, 
Ne'er o'er Cypna's cedarn alleys ; 
Or the Rose-isle's" moonlit sea, 
Floated sweets more worthy thee. 
Lo ! around onr vases, sending 
Myrrh and nard. with cassia blending; 
Paving air with odours meet 
For thy silver-sandall'd feet! 

August and everlasting Air! 

The source of all that breathe and be, 
From the mute clay before thee bear 

The seeds it took from thee 1 
Aspire, bright Flame, aspire ! 

Wild Wind! awake, awake! 
Thine own, O solemn Fire ! 

O Air, thine own retake ! 

It comes, it comes! Lo ! it sweeps, 
The Wind we invoke the while I 

And crackles, and darts, and leaps, 
The light on the holy pile ! 

It rises ! its wings interweave 

With the flames ; how they howl and heave I 
Tossed, whirled to and fro : 
How the flame-serpents glow I 
Rushing higher and higher ; 
On on, fearful Fire ; 
Thy giant limbs twined 
"With the arms of the Wind ! 

Lo ! the Elements meet on the throne 

Of Death to reclaim their own ! 

Swing, swing the censer round, 
Tune the string to a softer sound ; 
From the chains of thy earthly toil, 
From the clasp of thy mortal coil, 
From the prison where clay confined thee. 
The hands of the flame unbind thee ! 
O Soul ! thou art free all free ! 

As the winds in their ceaseless chase, 
When they rush o'er their airy sea, 

Thou mayest speed through the realms of space, 
No fetter is forged for thee ! 

Rejoice ! o'er the sluggard tide 
Of the Styx thy barque can glide, 
And thy steps evermore shall rove 
Through the glades of the happy grove ; 
Where, far from the loath'd Cocytus, 
The loved and the lost invite us. 

Thou art slave to the earth no more ! 

O soul, thou art freed ! and we ? 
Ah ! when shall our toil be o'er ? 

Ah ! when shall we rest with thee ? 



Rhodes. 



THE LAST DAYS .OF POMPEII. 263 

And now high and far into the dawning skies broke the fra- 
grant fire. It flashed luminously across the gloomy cypresses ; 
it shot above the massive walls of the neighbouring city, and the 
early fisherman started to behold the blaze reddening on the 
waves of the creeping sea. 

But lone sat down apart and alone ; and, leaning her face up- 
on her hands, saw not the flame, nor heard the lamentation or the 
music. She felt only one sense of loneliness ; she had not yet 
arrived to that hallowing sense of comfort when we know that 
we are not alone that the dead are with us 1 

The breeze rapidly aided the effect of the combustibles placed 
within the pile. By degrees the flame wavered, lowered, dimmed, 
and slowly, by fits and unequal starts, died away emblem of life 
itself! Where just before all was restlessness and flame, now lay 
the dull and smouldering ashes. 

The last sparks were extinguished by the attendants. The em- 
bers were collected. Steeped in the rarest wine and the costliest 
odours, the remains were placed in a silver urn, which was solemn- 
ly stored in one of the neighbouring sepulchres beside the road ; 
and they placed within it the vial full of tears, and the small 
coin which poetry still consecrated to the grim boatman. And 
the sepulchre was covered with flowers and chaplets, and in- 
cense kindled on the altar, and the tomb hung round with many 
lamps. 

But the next day, when the priest returned with fresh offerings 
to the tomb, he found that to the relics of heathen superstition 
some unknown hands had added a green palm-branch. He suf- 
fered it to remain, unknowing that it was the sepulchral emblem 
of Christianity. 

When the above ceremonies were over, one of the Praeficae 
three times sprinkled the mourners from the purifying branch of 
laurel, uttering the last word, "Ilicetf Depart! and the rite 
was done. 

But first they paused to utter weepingly and many times the 
affecting farewell, ' ' Salve Eternum !" And as lone yet lingered, 
they woke the parting strain. 

SALVE ETEBNTJM. 

Farewell, O soul departed ! 

Farewell, O sacred urn ! 
Bereaved and broken-hearted, 

To earth the mourners turn! 
To the dim and dreary shore, 
Thou art gone our steps before ! 
But thither the swift hours lead us, 
And thou dost but awhile precede us \ 
Salve salve ! 



264 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Loved um, and thou solemn cell, 
Mute ashes I farewell, farewell I 
Salve salvo ! 

Hicet ire licet I 
Ah, vainly would we part, 
Thy tomb is the faithful heart. 
About evennore we bear thee : 
For who from the heart can tear thee ? 
Vainly we sprinkle o'er us 

The drops of the cleansing stream ; 
And vainly bright before us 

The taetral fire shall beam. 
For where is the charm expelling 
Thy thought from its sacred dwelling? 
Our griefs are thy funeral feast, 
And memory thy mourning priest. 
Salve salve ! 

Hicet ire licet ! 
The spark from the heart is gone 

Wherever the air shall bear it ; 
The elements take there own 

The shadows receive thy spirit. 
It will soothe thee to feel our grief, 

As thou gKd'st by the gloomy river: 
If love may in life be brief, 

In death it is fixed for ever. 

Salve salve ! 

In the hall which our feasts illume, 
The rose for an hour may bloom ; 
But the cypress that decks the tomb 
The cypress is green for ever ! 
Salve salve ! 



CHAPTER IX. 
IN WHICH AN ADVENTURE HAPPENS TO IONE. 

WHILE some stayed behind to share with the priests the 
funeral banquet, lone and her handmaids took home- 
ward their melancholy way. And now, the last duties to her 
brother performed, her mind awoke from its absorption, and she 
thought of her affianced, and the dread charge against him. 
Not, as we have before said, attaching a momentary belief to the 
unnatural accusation, but nursing the darkest suspicion against 
Arbaces, she felt that justice to her lover and to her murdered 
relative demanded her to seek the praetor, and communicate her 
impression, unsupported as it might be. Questioning her 
maidens, who had hitherto, kindly anxious, as I have said, to save 
her the additional agony refrained from informing her of the state 
of Glaucus, she learned that he had been dangerously ill ; that he 
was in custody, under the roof of Sallust ; that the day of his trial 
was appointed. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 265 

"Averting gods !" she exclaimed ; "and have I been so long 
forgetful of him ? Have I seemed to shun him ? O ! let me 
hasten to do him justice ; to show that I, the nearest relative 
of the dead, believe him innocent of the charge. Quick ! quick ! 
let us fly. Let me soothe, tend, cheer him ! and if they will 
not believe me ; if they will not yield to my conviction ; if they 
sentence him to exile or to death, let me share the sentence with 
him!" 

Instinctively she hastened her pace, confused and bewildered, 
scarce knowing whither she went ; now designing first to seek 
the praetor, and now to rush to the chamber of Glaucus. She 
hurried on ; she passed the gate of the city ; she was in the 
long street leading up the town. The houses were opened, 
but none were yet astir in the- streets : the life of the city was 
scarce awake, when, lo ! she came suddenly upon a small knot 
of men standing beside a covered litter. A tall figure stepped 
from the midst of them, and lone shrieked aloud to behold 
Arbaces. 

" Fair lone!" said he gently, and appearing not to heed her 
alarm ; "my ward, my pupil! forgive me if I disturb thy pious 
sorrows ; but the praetor, solicitous of thy honour, and anxious 
that thou mayest not rashly be implicated in the coming trial ; 
knowing the strange embarrassment of thy state (seeking justice 
for thy brother, but dreading punishment to thy betrothed) ; sym- 
pathising, too, with thy unprotected and friendless condition, and 
deeming it harsh that thou shouldst be suffered to act unguided, 
and mourn aloud, hath wisely and paternally confided thee to the 
care of thy lawful guardian. Behold the writing which intrusts 
thee to my charge I" 

" Dark Egyptian !" cried lone, drawing herself proudly aside ; 
1 begone ! It is thou that hast slain my brother! Is it to thy care, 
thy hands yet reeking with his blood, that they will give the 
sister? Ha! thou turnest pale! thy conscience smites thee ! thou 
tremblest at the thunderbolt of the avenging god ! Pass on, and 
leave me to my woe!" 

"Thy sorrows unstring thy reason, lone," said Arbaces, at- 
tempting in vain his usual calmness of tone. "I forgive thee. 
Thou wilt find me now, as ever, thy surest friend. But the public 
streets are not the fitting place for us to confer for rne to console 
thee. Approach, slaves ! Come, my sweet charge, the litter 
awaits thee." 

The mazed and terrified attendants gathered round lone, and 
clung to her knees. 

"Arbaces," said the eldest of the maidens, " this is surely not 
the law ! For nine days after the funeral, is it not written, that 



266 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the relatives of the deceased shall not be molested in their homes 
or interrupted in their solitary grief?" 

"Woman!" returned Arbaces, imperiously waving his hand, 
" to place a ward under the roof of her guardian is not against 
the funeral laws. I tell thee, I have the fiat of the praetor. This 
delay is indecorus. Place her in the litter." 

So saying, he threw his arm firmly round the shrinking form of 
lone. She drew back, gazed earnestly in his face, and then burst 
into hysterical laughter : 

"Ha, ha! this is well well! Excellent guardian paternal 
law ! Ha, ha !" and, startled herself at the dread echo of that shrill 
and maddened laughter, she sunk, as it died away, lifeless upon 

the ground A minute more, and Arbaces had lifted 

her into the litter. The bearers moved swiftly on, and the un- 
fortunate lone was soon borne from the sight of her weeping 
handmaids. 

CHAPTER X. 

WHAT BECOMES OF NYDIA IN THE HOUSE OF ARBACES. 
T HE EGYPTIAN FEELS COMPASSION FOR GLAUCUS. 
COMPASSION IS OFTEN A VERY USELESS VISITOR TO THE 
GUILTY. 

IT will be remembered that, at the command of Arbaces, 
Nydia followed the Egyptian to his home, and, conversing 
there with her he learned, from the confession of her despair, 
and remorse, that her hand, and not Julia's had administered to 
Glaucus the fatal potion. At another time the Egyptian might 
have conceived a philosophical interest in sounding the depths 
and origin of the strange and absorbing passion which, in 
blindness and in slavery, this singular girl had dared to cherish ; 
but at present he spared no thought from himself. As, after 
her confession, the poor Nydia threw herself on her knees be- 
fore him, and besought him to restore the health and save the 
life of Glaucus for in her youth and ignorance she imagined 
the dark magician all-powerful to effect both Arbaces, with 
unheeding ears, was noting only the new expediency of detain- 
ing Nydia a prisoner until the trial and fate of Glaucus were 
decided. For if, when he judged her merely the accomplice of 
Julia in obtaining the philtre, he had felt it was dangerous to 
the full success of his vengeance to allow her to be at large to 
appear, perhaps, as a witness to avow the manner in which the 
sense of Glaucus had been darkened, and thus win indulgence 
to the crime of which he was accused ; how much more was she 
likely to volunteer her testimony when she herself had adminis- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 267 

tered the draught, and, inspired by love, would be only anxious, 
at any expense of shame, to retrieve her error and preserve her 
beloved? Besides, how unworthy of the rank and repute of 
Arbaces to be implicated in the disgrace of pandering to the 
passion of Julia, and assisting in the unholy rites of the Saga 
of Vesuvius ! Nothing less, indeed, than his desire to induce 
Glaucus to own the murder of Apaecides, as a policy evidently 
the best both for his own permanent safety and his successful 
suit with lone, could ever have led him to contemplate the con- 
fession of Julia. 

As for 'Nydia, who was necessarily cut off by her blindness 
from much of the knowledge of active life, and who, a slave and 
a stranger, was naturally ignorant of the perils of the Roman 
law, she thought rather of the illness and delirium of her Athe- 
nian than the crime of which she had vaguely heard him accused, 
or the chances of the impending trial. Poor wretch that she 
was, whom none addressed, none cared for, what did she know 
of the senate and the sentence the hazard of the law the 
ferocity of the people the arena and the lion's den ? She was 
accustomed only to associate with the thought of Glaucus every- 
thing that was prosperous and lofty ; she could not imagine that 
any peril, save from the madness of her love, could menace that 
sacred head. He seemed to her set apart for the blessings of 
life. She only had disturbed the current of his felicity ; she 
knew not, she dreamt not, that the stream, once so bright, was 
dashing on to darkness and to death. It was therefore to re- 
store the brain that she had married, to save the life that she 
had endangered, that she implored the assistance of the great 
Egyptian. 

"Daughter," said Arbaces, waking from his reverie, "thou 
must rest here; it is not meet for thee to wander along the 
streets, and be spurned from the threshold by the rude foot of 
slaves. I have compassion on thy soft crime ; I will do all to 
remedy it. Wait here patiently for some days, and Glaucus 
shall be restored." So saying, and without waiting for her reply, 
he hastened from the room, drew the bolt across the door, and 
consigned the care and wants of his prisoner to the slave who 
had the charge of that part of the mansion. 

Alone, then, and musingly, he waited the morning light, and 
with it repaired, as we have seen, to possess himself of the per- 
son of lone. 

His primary object with respect to the unfortunate Neapolitan, 
was that which he had really stated to Clodius, viz. , to prevent 
her interesting herself actively in the trial of Glaucus, and also 
to guard against her accusing him which she would doubtless 



268 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

have done of his former act of perfidy and violence towards 
her, his ward denouncing his causes for vengeance against 
Glaucus, unveiling the hypocrisy of his character, and casting 
any doubt upon his veracity in the charge which he had made 
against the Athenian. Not till he had encountered her that 
morning, not till he had heard her loud denunciations, was he 
aware that he had also another danger to apprehend in her 
suspicion of his crime. He hugged himself now in the thought 
that these objects were effected ; that one, at once the creature 
of his passion and his fear, was in his power. He believed more 
than ever the flattering promises of the stars ; and when he 
sought lone in that chamber in the inmost recesses of his mys- 
terious mansion to which he had consigned her when he found 
her overpowered by blow upon blow, and passing from fit to fit, 
from violence to torpor, in all the alternations of hysterical 
disease he thought more of the loveliness, which no frenzy 
could distort, than of the woe which he had brought upon her. 
In that sanguine vanity common to men who through life have 
been invariably successful, whether in fortune or love, he flatter- 
ed himself that when Glaucus had perished when his name was 
solemnly blackened by the award of a legal judgment, his title 
to her love for ever forfeited by condemnation to death for the 
murder of her own brother her affection would be changed to 
.horror ; and that his tenderness and his passion, assisted by all 
the arts with which he well knew how to dazzle woman's imagin- 
ation, might elect him to that throne in her heart from which 
his rival would be so awfully expelled. This was his hope ; but 
should it fail, his unholy and fervid passion whispered, "At the 
worst, now she is in my power !" 

Yet, withal, he felt that uneasiness and apprehension which 
attend upon the chance of detection, even when the criminal is 
insensible to the voice of conscience ; that vague terror of the 
consequences of crime, which is often mistaken for remorse at 
the crime itself. The buoyant air of Campania weighed heavily 
upon his breast ; he longed to hurry from a scene where danger 
might not sleep eternally with the dead ; and having lone now 
in his possession, he secretly resolved, as soon as he had witness- 
ed the last agony of his rival, to transport his wealth and her, 
the costliest treasure of all to some distant shore. 

"Yes," said he, striding to and fro his solitary chamber; 
"yes, the law that gave me the person of my ward gives me the 
possession of my bride. Far across the broad main will we 
sweep on our search after novel luxuries and inexperienced plea- 
sures. Cheered by my stars, supported by the omens of my 
goul, we will penetrate to those vast and glorious worlds which 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 269 

my wisdom tells me lie yet untracked in the recesses of the cir- 
cling sea. There may this heart, possessed of love, grow at 
length alive to ambition ; there, amongst nations uncrushed by 
the Roman yoke, and to whose ear the name of Rome has not 
yet been wafted, I may found an empire, and transplant my 
ancestral creed : renewing the ashes of the dead Theban rule ; 
continuing in yet grander shores the dynasty of my crowned 
fathers, and waking in the noble heart of lone the grateful con- 
sciousness that she shares the lot of one who, far from the aged 
rottenness of this slavish civilisation, restores the primal elements 
of greatness, and unites in one mighty soul the attributes of the 
prophet and the king." 

From this exultant soliloquy, Arbaces was awakened to attend 
the trial of the Athenian. 

The worn and pallid cheek of his victim touched him less than 
the firmness of his nerves and the dauntlessness of his brow; 
for Arbaces was one who had little pity for what was unfortunate 
but a strong sympathy for what was bold. The congenialities 
that bind us to others ever assimilate to the qualities of our own 
nature. The hero weeps less at the reverses of his enemy than 
at the fortitude with which he bears them. All of us are human, 
and Arbaces, criminal as he was, had his share of our common 
feelings and our mother-clay. Had he but obtained from Glaucus 
the written confession of his crime, which would, better than 
even the judgment of others, have lost him with lone, and re- 
moved the chance of future detection from Arbaces, he would 
have strained every nerve to save him. Even now his hatred was 
over ; his desire of revenge was slaked : he crushed his prey, 
not in enmity, but as an obstacle in his path. Yet was he not 
the less resolved, the less crafty and persevering, in the course 
he pursued for the destruction of one whose doom was become 
necessary to the attainment of his objects ; and while, with ap- 
parent reluctance and compassion, he gave against Glaucus the 
evidence which condemned him, he secretly, and through the 
medium of the priesthood, fomented that popular indignation 
which made an effectual obstacle to the pity of the senate. He 
had sought Julia ; he had detailed to her the confession of Nydia, 
he had easily, therefore, lulled any scruple of conscience which 
might have led her to extenuate the offence of Glaucus by avow- 
ing her share in his frenzy ; and the more readily, for her vain 
heart had loved the fame and the prosperity of Glaucus not 
Glaucus himself ; she felt no affection for a disgraced man nay, 
she almost rejoiced in a disgrace that humbled the hated lone. 
If Glaucus could not be her slave, neither could he be the 
adorer of her rival. This was sufficient consolation f or any 



2 70 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

regret at his fate. Volatile and fickle, she began already to be 
moved by the sudden and earnest suit of Clodius ; and was not 
willing to hazard the loss of an alliance with that base but high- 
born noble by any public exposure of her past weakness and 
immodest passion for another. All things then smiled upon 
Arbaces ; all things frowned upon the Athenian. 

CHAPTER XI. 
NYDIA AFFECTS THE SORCERESS. 

WHEN the Thessalian found that Arbaces returned to her 
no more ; when she was left, hour after hour, to all the 
torture of that miserable suspense which was rendered by blind- 
ness doubly intolerable, she began, with outstretched arms, to 
feel around her prison for some channel of escape ; and finding 
the only entrance secure, she called aloud, and with the vehe- 
mence of a temper naturally violent, and now sharpened by im- 
patient agony. 

"Ho, girl!" said the slave in attendance, opening the door; 
"art thou bit by a scorpion? or thinkest thou that we are dying 
of silence here, and only to be preserved, like the infant Jupiter, 
by a hullabaloo?" 

"Where is thy master? and wherefore am I caged here? I 
want air and liberty ; let me go forth !" 

"Alas! little one, hast thou not seen enough of Arbaces to 
know that his will is imperial? He hath ordered thee to be 
caged ; and caged thou art, and I am thy keeper. Thou canst 
not have air and liberty ; but thou mayst have what are much 
better things food and wine." 

" Proh Jupiter!" cried the girl, wringing her hands; "and 
why am I thus imprisoned ? what can the great Arbaces want 
with so poor a thing as I am?" 

" That I know not, unless it be to attend on thy new mistress, 
who has been brought hither this day." 

"What! lone here?" 

" Yes, poor lady ; she liked it little, I fear. Yet, by the Temple 
of Castor ! Arbaces is a gallant man to the women. Thy lady 
is his ward, thou knowest." 

" Wilt thou take me to her ?" 

"She is ill frantic with rage and spite. Besides, I have no 
orders to do so ; and 1 never think for myself. When Arbaces 
made me slave of these chambers,* he said, 'I have but one 

* In the bouses of the great, each suite of chambers had its peculiar 
slave. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 271 

lesson to give thee while thou servest me, thou must have 
neither ears, eyes, nor thought ; thou must be but one quality 
obedience.'" 

" But what harm is there in seeing lone?" 

"That I know not ; but if thou wantest a companion, I am 
willing to talk to thee, little one, for I am solitary enough in my 
dull cubiculum ; and, by the way, thou art Thessalian knowest 
thou not some cunning amusement of knife and shears, some 
pretty trick of telling fortunes, as most of thy race do, in order 
to pass the time ?" 

"Tush, slave! hold thy peace ! or, if thou wilt speak, what 
hast thou heard of the state of Glaucus ?" 

" Why, my master has gone to the Athenian's trial ; Glaucus 
will smart for it !" 

" For what?" 

" The murder of the priest Apsecides." 

"Ha!" said Nydia, pressing her hands to her forehead; 
" something of this I have indeed heard, but understand not. 
Yet who will dare to touch a hair of his head?" 

" That will the lion, I fear." 

"Averting gods ! what wickedness dost thou utter?" 

"Why, only that, if he be found guilty, the lion, or may be 
the tiger, will be his executioner." 

Nydia leaped up, as if an arrow had entered her heart : she 
uttered a piercing scream ; then, falling before the feet of the 
slave she cried, in a tone that melted even his rude heart, 

" Ah ! tell me thou jestest thou interest not the truth speak, 
speak !" 

" Why, by my faith, blind girl, I know nothing of the law ; 
it may not be so bad as I say. But Arbaces is his accuser, and 
the people desire a victim for the arena. Cheer thee ! But what 
hath the fate of the Athenian to do with thine?" 

"No matter, no matter he has been kind to me: thou 
knowest not, then, what they will do? Arbaces his accuser ! O 
fate ! The people the people! Ah! they can look upon his 
face who will be cruel to the Athenian? Yet was not Love 
itself cruel to him?" 

So saying, her head drooped upon her bosom ; she sunk into 
silence ; scalding tears flowed down her cheeks ; and all the 
kindly efforts of the slave were unable either to console her or 
distract the absorption of her reverie. 

When his household cares obliged the ministrant to leave her 
room, Nydia began to re-collect her thoughts. Arbaces was 
the accuser of Glacus ; Arbaces had imprisoned her here ; 
was not that a proof that her liberty might be serviceable to 



272 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Glaucus ? Yes, she was evidently inveigled into some snare ; 
she was contributing to the destruction of her beloved 1 Oh. 
how she panted for release ! Fortunately for her sufferings, all 
sense of pain became merged in the desire of escape ; and as she 
began to revolve the possibility of deliverance, she grew calm 
and thoughtful. She possessed much of the craft of her sex, 
and it had been increased in her breast by her early servitude. 
What slave was ever destitute of cunning? She resolved to 
practise upon her keeper ; and, calling suddenly to mind his 
superstitious query as to her Thessalian art, she hoped by that 
handle to work out some method of release. These doubts 
occupied her mind during the rest of the day and the long hours 
of night ; and accordingly, when Sosia visited her the following 
morning, she hastened to divert his garrulity into that channel in 
which it had before evinced a natural disposition to flow. 

She was aware, however, that her only chance of escape was 
at night ; and accordingly she was obliged, with a bitter pang at 
the delay, to defer till then her proposed attempt. 

"The night," said she, "is the sole time in which we can well 
decipher the decrees of fate ; then it is thou must seek me. But 
what desirest thou to learn ?" 

' ' By Pollux ! I should like to know as much as my master ; 
but that is not to be expected. Let me know, at least, whether 
I shall save enough to purchase my freedom, or whether this 
Egyptian will give it me for nothing He does such generous 
things sometimes. Next, supposing that be true, shall I possess 
myself of that snug taberna among the Myropolia,* which I 
have long had in my eye ? 'Tis a genteel trade that of a per- 
fumer, and suits a retired slave who has something of a gentleman 
about him !" 

"Ay! so you would have precise answers to those questions. 
There are various ways of satisfying you. There is the Litho- 
manteia, or Speaking-stone, which answers your prayer with an 
infant's voice ; but then we have not that precious stone with us 
costly is it, and rare. Then there is the Gastromanteia, where- 
by the demon casts pale and ghastly images upon water, prophe- 
tic of the future. But this art requires also glasses of a peculiar 
fashion, to contain the consecrated liquid, which we have not. I 
think, therefore, that the simplest method of satisfying your 
desire would be by the Magic of Air." 

"I trust," said Sosia, tremulously, "that there is nothing 
very frightful in the operation? I have no love for appari- 
tions." 

" Fear not ; thou wilt see nothing ; thou wilt only hear by 
The shops of the perfumers. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 273 

the bubbling of water whether or not thy suit prospers. First, 
then, be sure, from the rising of the evening-star, that thou 
leavest the garden-gate somewhat open, so that the demon may 
feel himself invited to enter therein ; and place fruits and water 
near the gate, as a sign of hospitality ; then, three hours after 
twilight, come here with a bowl of the coldest and purest water, 
and thou shall learn all, according to the Thessalian lore my 
mother taught me. But forget not the garden-gate all rests 
upon that ; it must be open when you come, and for three hours 
previously." 

"Trust me," replied the unsuspecting Sosia ; " I know what a 
gentleman's feelings are when a door is shut in his face, as the 
cook-shop's hath been in mine many a day ; and I know also 
that a person of respectability, as a demon of course is, cannot 
but be pleased, on the other hand, with any little mark of 
courteous hospitality. Meanwhile, pretty one, here is thy morn- 
ing's meal." 

' And what of the trial ?" 

' O, the lawyers are still at it talk, talk ; it will last over till 
to-morrow." 

' To-morrow ; you are sure of that ?" 

'So I hear." 

' And lone ?" 

' By Bacchus ! she must be tolerably well, for she was strong 
enough to make my master stamp and bite his lip this morning. 
I saw him quit her apartment with a brow like a thunder- 
storm." 

' ' Lodges she near this ?" 

" No ; in the upper apartments. But I must not stay prating 
here longer. Vale !" 



CHAPTER XII. 

A WASP VENTURES INTO THE SPIDER'S WEB. 

THE second night of the trial had set in ; and it was nearly 
the time in which Sosia was to brave the dread unknown, 
when there entered, at that very garden-gate which the slave 
had left ajar not, indeed, one of the mysterious spirits of earth 
or air, but the heavy and most human form of Calenus, the 
priest of Isis. He scarcely noted the humble offerings of indif- 
ferent fruit, and still more indifferent wine, which the pious 
Sosia had deemed good enough for the invisible stranger they 
were intended to allure. " Some tribute," thought he, "to the 
garden god. By my father's head ! if his deityship were never 

R 



274 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIt 

better served, he would do well to give up the godly profession. 
Ah ! were it not for us priests, the gods would have a sad time 
of it. And now for Arbaces ; I am treading a quicksand, but 
it ought to cover a mine. I have the Egyptian's life in my power 
what will he value it at ?" 

As he thus .soliloquised, he crossed through the open court 
into the peristyle, where a few lamps here and there broke up- 
on the empire of the starlit night ; and, issuing from one of the 
chambers that bordered the colonnade, suddenly encountered 
Arbaces. 

"Ho! Calenus, seekest thou me?" said the Egyptian; and 
there was a little embarrassment in his voice. 

" Yes, wise Arbaces ; I trust my visit is not unseasonable ?" 

"Nay, it was but this instant that my freedman Callias 
sneezed thrice at my right hand ; I knew, therefore, some good 
fortune was in store for me ; and, lo ! the gods have sent me 
Calenus." 

" Shall we within to your chamber, Arbaces ?" 

"As you will; but the night is clear and balmy. I have 
some remains of languor yet lingering on me from my recent 
illness ; the air refreshes me let us walk in the garden we are 
equally alone there." 

" With all my heart," answered the priest ; and the two friends 
passed {slowly to one of the many terraces which, bordered by 
marble vases and sleeping flowers, intersected the garden. 

" It is a lovely night," said Arbaces " blue and beautiful as 
that on which, twenty years ago, the shores of Italy first broke 
upon my view. My Calenus, age creeps upon us ; let us at least 
feel that we have lived." 

"Thou, at least, mayst arrogate that boast," said Calenus, 
beating about, as it were, for an opportunity to communicate the 
secret which weighed upon him, and feeling his usual awe of 
Arbaces still more impressively that night, from the quiet and 
friendly tone of dignified condescension which the Egyptian 
assumed "Thou, at least, mayst arrogate that boast. Thou 
hast had countless wealth, a frame on whose close-woven fibres 
disease can find no space to enter, prosperous love, inexhaustible 
pleasure, and, even at this hour, triumphant revenge." 

"Thou alludest to the Athenian. Ay, to-morrow's sun the 
fiat of his death will go forth. The senate does not relent. But 
thou mistakest ; his death gives me no other gratification than 
that it releases me from a rival in the affections of lone. I enter- 
tain no other sentiment of animosity against that unfortunate 
homicide." 

" Homicide!" repeated Calenus, slowly and meaningly; and, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 275 

halting as he spoke, he fixed his eyes upon Arbaces. The stars 
shone proud and steadily on the proud face of their prophet, but 
they betrayed there no change : the eyes of Calenus fell disap- 
pointed and abashed. He continued rapidly " Homicide ! it is 
well to charge him with that crime ; but thou, of all men, knowest 
that he is innocent." 

"Explain thyself," said Arbaces, coldly; for he had prepared 
himself for the hint his secret fears had foretold. 

"Arbaces," answered Calenus, sinking his voice into a whisper, 
1 ' I was in the sacred grove, sheltered by the chapel and the sur- 
rounding foliage. I overheard I marked the whole. I saw thy 
weapon pierce the heart of Apaecides. I blame not the deed it 
destroyed a foe and an apostate." 

"Thou sawest the whole!" said Arbaces, drily; "so I imagin- 
ed thou wert alone?" 

"Alone," returned Calenus, surprised at the Egyptian's calm- 
ness. 

"And wherefore wert thou hid behind the chapel at that 
hour?" 

" Because I had learned the conversion of Apoecides to the 
Christian faith because I knew that on that spot he was to 
meet the fierce Olinthus because they were to meet there to 
discuss plans for unveiling the sacred mysteries of our goddess 
to the people and I was there to detect, in order to defeat 
them." 

' Hast thou told living ear what thou didst witness?" 

' No, my master ; the secret is locked in thy servant's breast." 

' What ! even thy kinsman Burbo guesses it not? Come, the 
tn th." 

' By the gods " 

1 Hush? we know each other what are the god's to us?" 

1 By the fear of thy vengeance, then no." 

1 And why hast thou hitherto concealed from me this secret? 
Why hast thou waited till the eve of the Athenian's condemna- 
tion before thou hast ventured to tell me that Arbaces is a mur- 
derer ? And, having tarried so long, why revealest thou now that 
knowledge?" 

" Because because " stammered Calenus, colouring and in 
confusion. 

" Because," interrupted Arbaces, with a gentle smile, and tap- 
4.ping the priest on the shoulder with a kindly and familiar gesture 
"because, my Calenus see now, I will read thy heart, and 
explain its motives because thou didst wish thoroughly to com- 
mit and entangle me in the trial, so that I might have no loop- 
hole of escape ; that I might stand firmly pledged to perjury and 



276 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

to malice, as well as to homicide ; that, having myself whetted 
the appetite of the populace to blood, no wealth, no power 
could prevent my becoming their victim ; and thou tellest me 
thy secret now, ere the trial be over and the innocent con- 
demned, to show what a dexterous web of villainy thy word to- 
morrow could destroy to enhance, in this, the ninth hour, the 
price of thy forbearance to show that my own arts in arousing 
the popular wrath would, at thy witness, recoil upon myself, and 
that, if not for Glaucus, for me would gape the jaws of the lion. 
Is it not so?" 

"Arbaces," replied Calenus, losing all the vulgar audacity of 
his natural character, " verily thou art a Magician ; thou readest 
the heart as it were a scroll." 

" It is my vocation," answered the Egyptian, laughing gently. 
"Well, then, forbear; and when all is over I will make thee 
rich." 

" Pardon me," said the priest, as the quick suggestion of that 
avarice which was his master-passion bade him trust to no future 
chance of generosity ; " pardon me; thou saidst right we know 
each other. If thou wouldst have me silent, thou must pay some- 
thing in advance, as an offer to Harpocrates.* If the rose, sweet 
emblem of discretion, is to take rox>t firmly, water her this night 
with a stream of gold." 

"Witty and poetical," answered Arbaces, still in that bland 
voice which lulled and encouraged, when it ought to have alarm- 
ed and checked his griping comrade. " Wilt thou not wait the 
morrow?" 

" Why this delay ? Perhaps, when I can no longer give my 
testimony without shame for not having given it ere the innocent 
man suffered, thou wilt forget my claim ; and, indeed, thy present 
hesitation is a bad omen of thy future gratitude." 

" Well, then, Calenus, what wouldst thou have me pay 
thee?" 

"Thy life is very precious, and thy wealth is very great," 
returned the priest, grinning. 

" Wittier and more witty. But speak out what shall be the 
sum?" 

"Arbaces, I have heard that in thy secret treasury below, 
beneath those rude Oscan arches which prop thy stately halls, 
thou hast piles of gold, of vases, and of jewels, which might rival 
the receptacles of the wealth of the deified Nero. Thou mayst J 
easily spare out of those piles enough to make Calenus among 
the richest priests of Pompeii, and yet not miss the loss." 

The God of Silence. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 277 

"Come, Calenus," said Arbaces, winningly, and with a frank 
and generous air, ' ' thou art an old friend, and hast been a faith- 
ful servant. Thou canst have no wish to take away my life, nor 
I a desire to stint thy reward : thou shalt descend with me to that 
treasury thou referrest to ; thou shalt feast thine eyes with the 
blaze of uncounted gold, and the sparkle of priceless gems ; and 
thou shalt, for thy own reward, bear away with thee this night as 
much as thou canst conceal beneath thy robes. Nay, when thou 
hast once seen what thy friend possesses, thou wilt learn how 
foolish it would be to injure one who has so much to bestow. 
When Glaucus is no more, thou shall pay the treasury another 
visit. Speak I frankly and as a friend ?" 

"O, greatest, best of men!" cried Calenus, almost weeping 
with joy: "canst thou thus forgive my injurious doubts of thy 
justice, thy generosity ?" 

"Hush! one other turn, and we will descend to the Oscan 
"rches." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE SLAVE CONSULTS THE ORACLE. THEY WHO BLIND THEM- 
SELVES THE BLIND MAY FOOL. TWO NEW PRISONERS 
MADE IN ONE NIGHT. 

IMPATIENTLY Nydia awaited the arrival of the no less 
1 anxious Sosia. Fortifying his courage by plentiful potations 
of a better liquor than that provided for the demon, the credu- 
lous ministrant stole into the blind girl's chamber. 

" Well, Sosia, and art thou prepared? Hast thou the bowl of 
pure water?" 

' ' Verily, yes ; but I tremble a little. You are sure I shall not 
see the demon ? I have heard that those gentlemen are by no 
means of a handsome person or a civil demeanour." 

' ' Be assured ! And hast thou left the garden gate gently 
open?" 

'.' Yes ; and placed some beautiful nuts and apples on a little 
table close by." 

' ' That's well. And the gate is open now so that the demon 
may pass through it ?" 

" Surely it is." 

" Well, then, open this door. There leave it just ajar. And 
now, Sosia, give me the lamp." 

"What! You will not extinguish it ?" 

" No. But I must breathe my spell over its ray. There is a 
spirit in fire. Seat thyself." 



278 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

The slave obeyed. And Nydia bending for some moments 
silently over the lamp, now rose, and in a low voice chanted the 
following rude and doggerel 

INVOCATION TO THE SPECTRE OP AIB. 

Loved alike by air and water 

Aye must be Thessalia's daughter; 

To us, Olympian hearts, are given 

Spells that draw the moon from heaven. 

All that Egypt's learning wrought, 

All that Persia's Magian taught, 
Won from song, or wrung from flowers, 
Or whispered low by fiend are ours. 

Spectre of the viewless air, 
He&r the blind Thessalian's prayer; 
By Erictho's art, that shed 
Dews of life when life was fled ; 
By lone Ithaca's wise king, 
Who could make the crystal spring 
To the voice of prophecy ; 
By the lost Eurydice, 
Summoned from the shadowy throng, 
At the muse-son's magic song ; 
By the Colchian's awful charms, 
When fair-haired Jasou left her arms, 
Spectre of the airy halls, 
One who owns thee duly calls ! 
Breathe along the brimming bowl, 
And instruct the fearful soul 
In the shadowy things that lie 
Dark in dim futurity. 
Come, wild demon of the air, 
Answer to thy votary's prayer ! 
Come, oh, come ! 

And no god on heaven or eaith, 
Not the Paphian Queen of Mirth, 
Nor the vivid Lord of Light, 
Nor the triple Maid of Night. 
Nor the Thunder's self shall be 
Blest and honoured more than thee! 
Come, ah, come I 

"The spectre is certainly coming," said Sosia; "I feel him 
running along my hair !" 

" Place thy bowl of water on the ground. Now, then, give 
me thy napkin, and let me fold up thy face and eyes." 

"Ay! that's always the custom with these charms. Not so 
tight, though. Gently, gently." 

" There thou canst not see?" 

" See, by Jupiter ! No ; nothing but darkness." 

" Address, then, to the spectre whatever question thou wouldst 
ask him, in a low, whispered voice, three times. If thy question 
is answered in the affirmative, thou wilt hear the water ferment 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 279 

and bubble before the demon breathes upon it ; if in the negative 
the water will be quite silent." 

" But you will not play any trick with the water, eh?" 

' ' Let me place the bowl under thy feet so. Now thou wilt 
perceive that I cannot touch it without thy knowledge." 

"Very fair. Now, then, O Bacchus! befriend me. Thou 
knowest that I have always loved thee better than all the other 
gods, and I will dedicate to thee that silver cup I stole last year 
from the burly carptor (butler), if thou wilt but befriend me with 
this water-loving demon. And thou, Q Spirit ! listen and hear 
me. Shall I be enabled to purchase my freedom next year? 
Thou knowest ; for, as thou livest in the air, the- birds* 
have doubtless acquainted thee with every secret of this 
house. Thou knowest that I have filched and pilfered all 
that I honestly that is, safely could lay fingers upon for 
the last three years, and I yet want two thousand sesterces of the 
full sum. Shall I be able, O good Spirit ! to make up the de- 
ficiency in the course of this year? Speak! Ha! does the 
water bubble? No; all is still as a tomb. Well, then, if not 
this year, in two years ? Ah ! I hear something ; the demon is 
scratching at the door ; he'll be hear presently. In two years, 
my good fellow ; come now, two. That's a very reasonable 
time. What ! dumb still ! Two years and a half three four? 
Ill fortune to you, friend demon ! You are not a lady, that's 
clear, or you would not keep silence so long. Five six sixty 
years ? and may Pluto seize you ! I'll ask no more." And Sosia, 
in a rage, kicked down the water over his legs. He then, after 
much fumbling and more cursing, managed to extricate his head 
from the napkin in which it was completely folded, stared round, 
and discovered that he was in the dark. 

"What ho! Nydia! the lamp is gone. Ah, traitress! and 
thou art gone, too ; but I'll catch thee. Thou shall smart for 
this !" 

The slave groped his way to the door; it was bolted from with- 
out. He was a prioner instead of Nydia. What could he do ? 
He did not dare to knock loud to call out lest Arbaces should 
overhear him, and discover how he had been duped ; and Nydia, 
meanwhile, had probably already gained the garden-gate, and 
was fast on her escape. 

" But," thought he, "she will go home, or at least be some- 
where in the city. To-morrow at dawn, when the slaves are at 
work in the peristyle, I can make myself heard ; then I can go 
forth and seek her. I shall be sure to find and bring her back, 

Who are supposed to know all secrets. The same superstition prevails 
in the East, and is not without example also in our northern legends. 



280 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

before Arbaces knows a word of the matter. Ah ! that's the best 
plan. Little traitress, my fingers itch at thee ; and to leave only 
a bowl of water too. Had it been wine, it would have been some 
comfort." 

While Sosia, thus entrapped, was lamenting his fate, and re- 
volving his schemes to repossess himself of Nydia, the blind girl, 
with that singular precision and dexterous rapidity of motion 
which we have before observed was peculiar to her, had passed 
lightly along the peristyle, threaded the opposite passage that led 
into the garden, and, with a beating heart, was about to pro- 
ceed towards the gate, when she suddenly heard the sound of 
approaching steps, and distinguished the dreaded voice of Arba- 
ces himself. She paused for a moment in doubt and terror ; 
then suddenly it flashed across her recollection that there was 
another passage, which was little used except for admission of 
the fair partakers of the Egyptian's secret revels, and which 
wound along the basement of that massive fabric towards the 
door, which also communicated with the garden. By good 
fortune it might be open. At that thought she hastily retraced 
her steps, descended the narrow stairs at the right, and was 
soon at the entrance of the passage. Alas ! the door at that 
entrance was closed and secured. While she was yet assuring 
herself that it was indeed locked, she heard behind her the 
voice of Calenus, and a moment after, that of Arbaces in low 
reply. She could not stay there ; they were probably passing to 
that very door. She sprang onward, and felt herself in unknown 
ground. The air grew damp and chill ; this reassured her. She 
thought she might be among the cellars of the luxurious mansion, 
or at least in some rude spot not likely to be visited by its haughty 
lord, when again her quick ear caught steps and the sound of 
voices. On, on, she hurried, extending her arms which now 
frequently encountered pillars of thick and massive form. With 
a tact doubled in acuteness by her fear, she escaped these perils 
and continued her way, the air growing more and more damp as 
she proceeded ; yet still, as she ever and anon paused for breath, 
she heard the advancing steps and the indistinct murmur of 
voices. At length she was abruptly stopped by a wall that 
seemed the limit of her path. Was there no spot in which she 
could hide ? No aperture ? no cavity ? There was none ! She 
stopped, and wrung her hands in despair ; then again, nerved as 
the voices neared upon her, she hurried on by the side of the 
wall ; and, coming suddenly against one of the sharp buttresses 
that here and there jutted boldly forth, she fell on the ground. 
Though much bruised, her senses did not leave her. She uttered 
no cry ; nay, she hailed the accident that had led her to something 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 281 

like a screen ; and, creeping close up to the angle formed by the 
buttress, so that on one side at least she was sheltered from view, 
she gathered her slight and small form into its smallest compass, 
and breathlessly awaited her fate. 

Meanwhile, Arbaces and the priest were taking their way to 
that secret chamber whose stores were so vaunted by the 
Egyptian. They were in a vast subterranean atrium or hall ; 
the low roof was supported by short thick pillars of an 
architecture far remote from the Grecian graces of that 
hmiriant period. The single and pale lamp, which Arbaces 
bore, shed but an imperfect ray over the bare and rugged 
walls, in which the huge stones, without cement, were fitted 
curiously and uncouthly into each other. The disturbed rep- 
tiles glared dully on the intruders, and then crept into the 
shadow of the walls. 

Calenus shivered, as he looked around and breathed the damp 
unwholesome air. 

"Yet," said Arbaces, with a smile, perceiving his shudder, 
"it is these rude abodes that furnish the luxuries of the halls 
above. They are like the labourers of the world ; we despise 
their ruggedness, yet they feed the very pride that disdains 
them." 

"And whither goes yon dim gallery to the left?" asked 
Calenus ; "in this depth of gloom it seems without limit, as if 
winding into Hades." 

"On the contrary, it does but conduct to the upper day," 
answered Arbaces, carelessly ; " it is to the right that we steer to 
our bourn." 

The hall, like many in the more habitable regions of Pompeii, 
branched off at the extremity into two wings or passages, the 
length of which, not really great, was to the eye considerably ex- 
aggerated by the sullen gloom against which the lamp so faintly 
struggled. To the right of these ala the two comrades now 
directed their steps. 

' ' The gay Glaucus will be lodged to-morrow in apartments 
not much drier, and far less spacious than this," said Calenus, as 
they passed by the very spot, where, completely wrapped in the 
shadow of the broad projecting buttress, cowered the Thessa- 
lian. 

"Ay, but then he will have dry room, and ample enough, in the 
arena on the following day. And to think," continued Arbaces, 
slowly, and very deliberately, ' ' to think that a word of thine 
could save him, and consign Arbaces to his doom !" 

" That word shall never be spoken, said Calenus. 

" Right, my Calenus, it never shall," returned Arbaces, famil- 



282 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIF. 

iarly leaning his arm on the priest's shoulder; " and now halt, 
we are at the door." 

The light trembled against a small door deep set in the wall, 
and guarded strongly by many plates and bindings of iron, that 
intersected the rough and dark wood. From his girdle Arbaces 
now drew a small ring, holding three or four short but strong 
keys. Oh, how beat the griping heart of Calenus, as he heard 
the rusty wards growl, as if resenting the admission to the 
treasures they guarded. 

" Enter, my friend," said Arbaces, " while I hold the lamp on 
high that thou mayest glut thine eyes on the yellow heaps." 

The impatient Calenus did not wait to be twice invited ; he 
hastened towards the aperture. 

Scarce had he crossed the threshold, when the strong hand of 
Arbaces plunged him forwards. 

" The word shall never be spoken!" said he, with a loud ex- 
ultant laugh, and closed the door upon the priest. 

Calenus had been precipitated down several steps, but not feel- 
ing at the moment the pain of his fall, he sprung up again to the 
door, and beating at it fiercely with his clenched fist, he cried 
aloud in what seemed more a beast's howl than a human voice, 
so keen was his agony and despair "Oh, release me, release 
me, and I will ask no gold ! " 

The words but imperfectly penetrated the massive door, and 
Arbaces again laughed. Then, stamping his foot violently, re- 
joined, perhaps to give vent to his long-stifled passions, 

"All the gold of Dalmatia," cried he, "will not buy thee a 
crust of bread. Starve, wretch ; thy dying groans will never 
wake even the echo of these vast halls ; nor will the air ever re- 
veal, as thou gnawest, in thy desperate famine, thy flesh from thy 
bones, that so perishes the man who threatened, and could have 
undone, Arbaces ! Farewell ! " 

" Ob, pity, mercy ! Inhuman villain ; was it for this " 

The rest of the sentence was lost to the ear of Arbaces. As he 
passed backward along the dim hall, a toad, plump and bloated, 
lay unmoving before his path ; the rays of the lamp fell upon its 
unshaped hideousness and red upward eye. Arbaces turned aside 
that he might not harm it. 

" Thou art loathsome and obscene," he muttered, "but thou 
canst not injure me ; therefore thou art safe in my path." 

The cries of Calenus, dulled and choaked by the barrier that 
confined him, yet faintly reached the ear of the Egyptian. He 
paused and listened intently. 

"This is unfortunate," thought he: "for I cannot sail till that 
voice is dumb for ever. My stores and treasures lie, not in yen 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 283 

dungeon^it is true, but in the opposite wing. My slaves, as they 
move them, must not hear his voice. But what fear of that? In 
three days, if he still survive, his accents, by my father's beard, 
must be weak enough, then ! No, they could not pierce even 
through his tomb. By Isis, it is cold ! I long for a deep draught 
of the spiced Falernian." 

With that the remorseless Egyptian drew his gown closer 
round him, and resought the upper air. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

NYDIA ACCOSTS CALENUS. 

WHAT words of terror, yet of hope, had Nydia overheard ! 
The next day Glaucus was to be condemned ; yet there 
lived one who could save him, and adjudge Arbaces to his doom, 
and that one breathed within a few steps of her hiding-place ! 
She caught his cries and shrieks, his imprecations, his prayers, 
though they fell choked and muffled on her ear. He was im- 
prisoned, but she knew the secret of his cell : could she but 
escape, could she but seek the praetor, he might yet in time be 
given to light, and preserve the Athenian. Her emotions almost 
stifled her ; her brain reeled, she felt her sense give way, but by 
a violent effort she mastered herself ; and, after listening intently 
for several minutes, till she was convinced that Arbaces had left 
the space to solitude and herself, she crept on till her ear guided 
her to the very door that had closed upon Calenus. Here she 
more distinctly caught his accents of terror and despair. Thrice 
she attempted to speak, and thrice her voice failed to penetrate 
the folds of the heavy door. At length, finding the lock she ap- 
plied her lips to its small aperture, and the prisoner distinctly 
heard a soft tone breathe his name. 

His blood curdled, his hair stood on end. That awful solitude, 
what mysterious and preternatural being could penetrate ! 
" Who's there?" he cried, in new alarm ; " what spectre, what 
dread larva, calls upon the lost Calenus?" 

"Priest," replied the Thessalian, "unknown to Arbaces, I 
have been, by the permission of the gods, a witness to his per- 
fidy. If I myself can escape from these walls, I may save thee. 
But let thy voice reach my ear through this narrow passage, and 
answer what I ask." 

"Ah, blessed spirit," said the priest; exultingly, and obeying 
the suggestion of Nydia, "save me, and I will sell the very cups 
on the altar to pay thy kindness." 



284 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" I want not thy gold ; I want thy secret. Did I hear aright? 
Canst thou save the Athenian Glaucus from the charge against 
his life?" 

"I can, I can! therefore (may the Furies blast the foul 
Egyptian !) hath Arbaces snared me thus, and left me to starve 
and rot !" 

" They accuse the Athenian of murder ; canst thou disprove 
the accusation ?" 

"Only free me, and the proudest head of Pompeii is not more 
safe than his. I saw the deed done ; I saw Arbaces strike the 
blow ; I can convict the true murderer, and acquit the innocent 
man. But if I perish, he dies also. Dost thou interest thyself 
for him ? Oh, blessed stranger, in my heart is the urn which 
condemns or frees him !" 

"And thou wilt give full evidence of what thou knowest?" 

' ' Will ! Oh ! were hell at my feet yes ! Revenge on the 
false Egyptian revenge! revenge! revenge!" 

As through his ground teeth Calenus shrieked forth those 
last words, Nydia felt that in his worst passions was her cer- 
tainty of his justice to the Athenian. Her heart beat : was it 
was it to be her proud destiny to preserve her idolised, her 
adored? " Enough," said she ; " the powers that conducted me 
hither will carry me through all. Yes, I feel that I shall deliver 
thee. Wait in patience and in hope." 

" But be cautious, be prudent, sweet stranger. Attempt not 
to appeal to Arbaces he is marble. Seek the praetor ; say what 
thou knowest ; obtain his writ of search ; bring soldiers, and 
smiths of cunning ; these locks are wondrous strong ! Time 
flies I may starve starve ! if you are not quick ! Go go ! 
Yet stay ; it is horrible to be alone ! the air is like a charnel 
and the scorpions ha ! and the pale larva? ! Oh ! stay, 
stay!" 

" Nay," said Nydia, terrified by the terror of the priest, and 
anxious to confer with herself ' ' nay, for thy sake I must depart. 
Take Hope for thy companion. Farewell !" 

So saying, she glided away, and felt with extended arms along 
the pillared space until she had gained the farther end of the 
hall and the mouth of the passage that led to the upper air. 
But there she paused ; she felt that it would be more safe to 
wait awhile, until the night was so far blended with morning 
that the whole house would be buried in sleep, and so that she 
might quit it unobserved. She therefore once more laid herself 
down, and counted the weary moments. In her sanguine heart 
joy was the predominant emotion. Glaucus was in deadly peril, 
but she should save him! 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 285 
CHAPTER XV. 

ARBACES AND IONE. NYDIA GAINS THE GARDEN. WILL 
SHE ESCAPE AND SAVE THE ATHENIAN? 

WHEN Arbaces had warmed his veins by large draughts 
of that spiced and perfumed wine so valued by the lux- 
urious, he felt more than usually elated and exultant of heart. 
There is a pride in triumphant ingenuity, not less felt, perhaps, 
though its object be guilty. Our vain human nature hugs itself 
in the consciousness of superior craft and self-obtained success 
afterwards comes the horrible reaction of remorse. 

But remorse was not a feeling which Arbaces was likely ever 
to experience for the fate of the base Calenus. He swept from 
his remembrance the thought of the priest's agonies and linger- 
ing death ; he felt only that a great danger was passed, and a 
possible foe silenced ; all left to him now would be to account 
to the priesthood for the disappearance of Calenus ; and this 
he imagined it would not be difficult to do. Calenus had often 
been employed by him in various religious missions to the neigh- 
bouring cities. On some such errand he could now assert that 
he had been sent, with offerings to the shrines of Isis at Her- 
culaneum and Neapolis, placatory of the goddess for the recent 
murder of her priest, Apaecides. When Calenus had expired, 
his body might be thrown, previous to the Egyptian's departure 
from Pompeii, into the deep stream of the Sarnus ; and when 
discovered, suspicion would probably fall upon the Nazarene 
atheists, as an act of revenge for the death of Olinthus at the 
arena. After rapidly running over these plans for screening 
himself, Arbaces dismissed at once from his mind all recollection 
of the wretched priest ; and, animated by the success which had 
lately crowned all his schemes, he surrendered his thoughts to 
lone. The last time he had seen her, she had driven him from 
her presence by a reproachful and bitter scorn, which his 
arrogant nature was unable to endure. He now felt emboldened 
once more to renew that interview ; for his passion for her was 
like similar feelings in other men ; it made him restless for her 
presence, even though in that presence he was exasperated and 
humbled. From delicacy to her grief, he laid not aside his dark 
and unfestive robes, but, renewing the perfumes on his raven 
locks, and arranging his tunic in its most becoming folds, he 
sought the chamber of the Neapolitan. Aocosting the slave in 
attendance without, he inquired if lone had yet retired to rest ; 
and learning that she was still up, and unusually quiet and com- 
posed, he ventured into her presence. He found his beautiful 



286 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII 

ward sitting before a small table, and leaning her face upon 
both her hands in the attitude of thought. Yet the expression 
of the face itself possessed not its wonted bright and Psyche-like 
expression of sweet intelligence the lips were apart, the eye 
vacant and unheeding, and the long dark hair, falling neglected 
and dishevelled upon her neck, gave by the contrast additional 
paleness to a cheek which had already lost the roundness of its 
contour. 

Arbaces gazed upon her a moment ere he advanced. She, 
too, lifted up her eyes ; and when she saw who was the intruder, 
shut them with an expression of pain, but did not stir. 

" Ah !" said Arbaces, in a low and earnest tone, as he respect- 
fully, nay, humbly, advanced and seated himself at a little dis- 
tance from the table "Ah! that my death could remove thy 
hatred, then would I gladly die ! Thou wrongest me, lone ; but 
I will bear the wrong without a murmur, only let me see thee 
sometimes. Chide, reproach, scorn me, if thou wilt, I will 
teach myself to bear it. And is not even thy bitterest tone 
sweeter to me than the music of the most artful lute ? In thy 
silence the world seems to stand still, a stagnation curdles up 
the veins of the earth ; there is no earth, no life, without the 
light of thy countenance and the melody of thy voice." 

" Give me back my brother and my betrothed," said lone, in 
a calm and imploring tone, and a few large tears rolled unheeded 
down her cheeks. 

" Would that I could restore the one and save the other," 
returned Arbaces, with apparent emotion. ' ' Yes ; to make thee 
happy I would renounce my ill-fated love, and gladly join thy 
hand to the Athenian's. Perhaps he will yet come unscathed 
from his trial'* (Arbaces had prevented her learning that the trial 
had already commenced ;) "if so, thou art free to judge or con- 
demn him thyself. And think not, oh lone, that I would follow 
thee longer with a prayer of love. I know it is in vain. Suffer 
me only to weep to mourn with thee. Forgive a violence deeply 
repented, and that shall offend no more. Let me be to thee 
only what I once was a friend, a father, a protector. Ah, 
lone ! spare me, and forgive. " 

"I forgive thee. Save but Glaucus, and I will renounce 
him. Oh, mighty Arbaces! thou art powerful in evil or in good : 
save the Athenian, and the poor lone will never see him more." 
As she spoke, she rose with weak and trembling limbs, and fall- 
ing at his feet, she clasped his knees ; ' ' Oh I if thou really lovest 
me, if thou art human remember my father's ashes, remember 
my childhood, think of all the hours we passed happily together 
and save my Glaucus. ' 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 287 

Strange convulsions shook the frame of the Egyptian ; his 
features worked fearfully he turned his face aside, and said, in 
a hollow voice, " If I could save him, even now, I would ; but 
the Roman law is stern and sharp. Yet if I could succeed, if I 
could rescue and set him free wouldst thou be mine my 
bride ?" 

"Thine?" repeated lone, rising "Thine thy bride! My 
brother's blood is unavenged : who slew him? O, Nemesis ! can 
I even sell, for the life of Glaucus, thy solemn trust ? Arbaces 
thine ? Never !" 

"lone, lone!" cried Arbaces, passionately: "why these 
mysterious words? why dost thou couple my name with the 
thought of thy brother's death?" 

" My dreams couple it, and dreams are from the gods," 

"Vain fantasies all! Is it for a dream that thou wouldst 
wrong the innocent, and hazard thy sole chance of saving thy 
lover's life?" 

"Hear me!" said lone, speaking firmly, and with a deliberate 
and solemn voice : " if Glaucus be saved by thee, I will never 
be borne to his home a bride. But I cannot master the horror 
of other rites : I cannot wed with thee. Interrupt me not ; but 
mark me, Arbaces ! if Glaucus die, on that same day I baffle 
thine arts, and leave to thy love only my dust ! Yes, thou 
mayst put the knife and the poison from my reach thou mayst 
imprison, thou mayst chain me but the brave soul resolved to 
escape, is never without means. These hands, naked and un- 
armed though they be, shall tear away the bonds of life. Fetter 
them, and these lips shall firmly refuse the air. Thou art 
learned thou hast read how women have died rather than 
meet dishonour. If Glaucus perish, I will not unworthily linger 
behind him. By all the gods of the heaven, and the ocean, 
and the earth, I devote myself to death ! I have said !" 

High, proud, dilating in her stature, like one inspired, the 
air and voice of lone struck an awe into the breast of her 
listener. 

"Brave heart!" said he, after a short pause; "thou art in- 
deed worthy to be mine ! Oh ! that I should have dreamt of 
such a sharer to my high doom, and never found it but in thee ! 
lone," he continued rapidly, "dost thou not see that we were 
born for each other? Canst thou not recognise something 
kindred to thine own energy thine own courage in this high 
and self-dependent soul ? We were formed to unite our sym- 
pathies formed to breathe a new spirit into this hackneyed 
and gross world formed for the mighty destinies, which my 
soul, sweeping down the gloom of time, foresees with a pro- 



288 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

phet's vision. With a resolution equal to thine own, I defy 
thy threats of an inglorious suicide. I hail thee as my own ! 
Queen of climes undarkened by the eagle's wing, unravaged by 
his beak, / bow before thee in homage and in awe, but / claim 
thee in worship and in love ! Together will we cross the ocean, 
together will we found our realm ; and far-distant ages shall 
acknowledge the long race of kings born from the marriage-bed 
of Arbaces and lone !" 

" Thou ravest ! These mystic declamations are suited rather 
to some palsied crone selling charms in the market-place than to 
the wise Arbaces. Thou hast heard my resolution it is fixed 
as the Fates themselves. Orcus has heard my vow, and it is 
written in the book of the unforgetful Hades. Atone, then, O 
Arbaces ! atone the past : convert hatred into regard venge- 
ance into gratitude ; preserve one who shall never be thy rival. 
These are acts suited to thy original nature, which gives forth 
sparks of something high and noble. They weigh in the scales 
of thy Kings of Death ; they turn the balance on that day when 
the embodied soul stands shivering and dismayed between Tar- 
tarus and Elysium ; they gladden the heart in life, better and 
longer than the reward of a momentary passion. Oh, Arbaces ! 
hear me, and be swayed !" 

" Enough, lone. All that I can do for Glaucus shall be done, 
but blame me not if I fail. Inquire of my foes, even, if I have 
not sought, if I do not seek, to turn aside the sentence from his 
head ; and judge me accordingly. Sleep then, lone. Night 
wanes ; I leave thee to its rest, and mayst thou have kinder 
dreams of one who has no existence but in thine." 

Without waiting a reply, Arbaces hastily withdrew ; afraid, 
perhaps, to trust himself further to the passionate prayer of lone, 
which racked him with jealousy, even while it touched him to 
compassion. But compassion itself came too late. Had lone 
even pledged him her hand as his reward, he could not now his 
evidence given the populace excited have saved the Athenian. 
Still, made sanguine by his very energy of mind, he threw him- 
self on the chances of the future, and believed he should yet 
triumph over the woman that had so entangled his passions. 

As his attendants assisted to unrobe him for the night, the 
thought of Nydia flashed across him. He felt it was necessary 
that lone should never learn of her lover's frenzy, lest it might 
excuse his imputed crime ; and it was possible that her attend- 
ants might inform her that Nydia was under his roof, and she 
might desire to see her. As this idea crossed him, he turned to 
one of his freedmen : 

"Go, Callias," said he, "forthwith to Sosia, and tell him. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 289 

that on no pretence is he to suffer the blind slave Nydia out of 
her chamber. But stay, first seek those on attendance upon my 
ward, and caution them not to inform her that the blind girl is 
under my roof. Go quick !" 

The freedman hastened to obey. After having discharged his 
commission with respect to Zone's attendants, he sought the 
worthy Sosia. He found him not in the little cell which was 
apportioned for his cubiculum ; he called his name aloud, and 
from Nydia's chamber, close at hand, he heard the voice of 
Sosia reply, 

"Oh, Callias, is it you that I hear? The gods be praised! 
Open the door, I pray you !" 

Callias withdrew the bolt, and the rueful face of Sosia hastily 
obtruded itself. 

"What! in the chamber with that young girl, Sosia! Prok 
pudor ! Are there not fruits ripe enough on the wall, but that 
thou must tamper with such green " 

" Name not the little witch !" interrupted Sosia, impatiently ; 
" she will be my ruin!" and he forthwith imparted to Callias the 
history of the air demon, and the escape of the Thessalian. 

"Hang thyself, then, unhappy Sosia! I am just charged 
from Arbaces with a message to thee ; on no account art thou 
to suffer her, even for a moment, from that chamber!" 

" Me miserum /" exclaimed the slave. "What can I do? By 
this time she may have visited half Pompeii. But to-morrow I 
will undertake to catch her in her old haunts. Keep but my 
counsel, dear Callias." 

"I will do all that friendship can, consistent with my own 
safety. But are you sure she has left the house ? She may be 
hiding here yet." 

"How is that possible? She could easily have gained the 
garden, and the door, as I told thee, was open." 

' ' Nay, not so ; for, at that very hour thou specifiest, Arbaces 
was in the garden with the priest Calenus. I went there in 
search of some herbs for my master's bath to-morrow. I saw 
the table set out, but the gate I am sure was shut : depend upon 
it, that Calenus entered by the garden, and naturally closed the 
door after him. 

" But it was not locked." 

" Yes ; for I myself, angry at a negligence which might expose 
the bronzes in the peristyle to the mercy of any robber, turned 
the key, took it away, and as I did not see the proper slave to 
whom to give it, or I should have rated him finely here it 
actually is, still in my girdle." 

" Oh, merciful Bacchus ! I did not pray to thee in vain, after 

S 



290 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

all. Let us not lose a moment ! Let us to the garden instantly, 
she may yet be there 1" 

The good-natured Callias consented to assist the slave ; and, 
after vainly searching the chambers at hand, and the recesses of 
the peristyle, they entered the garden. 

It was about this time that Nydia had resolved to quit her 
hiding-place, and venture forth on her way. Lightly, tremulous- 
ly, holding her breath, which ever and anon broke forth in quick 
convulsive gasps now gliding by the flower-wreathed columns 
that bordered the peristyle, now darkening the still moonshine 
that fell over its tesselated centre, now ascending the terrace of 
the garden, now gliding amidst the gloomy and breathless trees 
she gained the fatal door to find it locked! We have all 
seen that expression of pain, of uncertainty, of fear, which a 
sudden disappointment of touch, if I may use the expression, 
casts over the face of the blind. But what words can paint the 
intolerable woe, the sinking of the whole heart, which was now 
visible on the features of the Thessalian ! Again and again her 
small, quivering hands wandered to and fro the inexorable door. 
Poor thing that thou wert ! in vain had been all thy noble cour- 
age, thy innocent craft, thy doublings to escape the hound and 
huntsman ! Within but a few yards from thee, laughing at thy 
endeavours thy despair knowing thou wert now their own, 
and watching with cruel patience their own moment to seize their 
prey thou art saved from seeing thy pursuers ! 
. " Hush, Callias! let her go on. Let us see what she will do 
when she has convinced herself that the door is honest." 

" Look ! she raises her face to the heavens ; she mutters ; she 
sinks down despondent. No ! by Pollux, she has some new 
scheme ! She will not resign herself ! By Jupiter, a tough 
spirit ! See, she springs up ; she retraces her steps ; she thinks 
of some other chance ! I advise thee, Sosia, to delay no longer. 
Seize her ere she quit the garden now." 
"Ah! runaway! I have thee eh?" said Sosia, seizing upon 
the unhappy Nydia. 

As a hare's last human cry in the fangs of the dogs as the 
sharp voice of terror uttered by a sleep-walker suddenly awaken- 
ed broke the shriek of the blind girl, when she felt the abrupt 
grip of her gaoler. It was a shriek of such agony, such entire 
despair, that it might have rung hauntingly in your ears for ever. 
She felt as if the last plank of the sinking Glaucus were torn 
from his clasp. It had been a suspense of life and death ; and 
death had now won the game. 

"Gods! that cry will alarm the house! Arbaces sleeps full 
lightly. Gag her!" cried Callias. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 291 

"Ah! here is the very napkin with which the young witch 
conjured away my reason ! Come, that's right ; now, thou art 
dumb as well as blind." 

And, catching the light weight in his arms, Sosia soon gained 
the house, and reached the chamber from which Nydia had 
escaped. There, removing the gag, he left her to a solitude so 
racked and terrible, that out of Hades its anguish could scarcely 
be exceeded. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

THE SORROW OF BOON COMPANIONS FOR OUR AFFLICTIONS. 
THE DUNGEON AND ITS VICTIMS. 

IT was now late on the third and last day of the trial of 
Glaucus and Olinthus. A few hours after the court had 
broke up and judgment been given, a small party of the fashion- 
able youth at Pompeii were assembled round the fastidious 
board of Lepidus. 

"So Glaucus denies his crime to the last," said Clodius. 

" Yes : but the testimony of Arbaces was convincing. He saw 
the blow given," answered Lepidus. 

" What could have been the cause?" 

" Why, the priest was a gloomy and sullen fellow. He pro- 
bably rated Glaucus soundly about his gay life and gaming 
habits, and ultimately swore he would not consent to his marri- 
age with lone. High words arose ; Glaucus seems to have been 
full of the passionate god, and struck in sudden exasperation. 
The excitement of wine, the desperation of abrupt remorse, 
brought on the delirium under which he suffered for some days ; 
and I can readily imagine, poor fellow ! that, yet confused by 
that delirium, he is even now unconscious of the crime he com- 
mitted. Such, at least, is the shrewd conjecture of Arbaces, who 
seems to have been most kind and forbearing in his testimony." 

"Yes ; he has made himself generally popular by it. But, in 
consideration of these extenuating circumstances, the senate 
should have relaxed the sentence." 

' ' And they would have done so but for the people ; but they 
were outrageous. The priests had spared no pains to excite 
them ; and they imagined, the ferocious brutes! because Glaucus 
was a rich man and a gentleman, that he was likely to escape ; 
and therefore they were inveterate against him and doubly re- 
solved upon his sentence. The senate did not dare refuse to 
strip him of the rights of citizenship, and so pass judgment of 
death ; though, after all, there was but a majority of three 
against him, Ho! the Chian!" 



292 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" He looks sadly altered ; but how composed and fearless !" 

"Ay, we shall see if his firmness will last over to-morrow. 
But what merit in courage, when that atheistical hound Olinthus, 
manifested the same ?" 

"The blasphemer! Yes," said Lepidus, with pious wrath ; 
"no wonder that one of the decurions was but two days ago 
struck dead by lightning in a serene sky.* The gods feel 
vengeance against Pompeii while the vile desecrator is alive 
within its walls." 

' ' Yet so lenient was the senate that, had he but expressed his 
penitence, and scattered a few grains of incense on the altar of 
Cybele, he would have been let off. I doubt whether these 
Nazarenes, had they the state religion, would be as tolerant to 
us, supposing we had kicked down the image of Their deity, blas- 
phemed its rites, and denied its faith." 

" They give Glaucus one chance in consideration of the cir- 
cumstances. They allow him against the lion the use of the same 
stilus wherewith he smote the priest." 

' ' Hast thou seen the lion ? Hast thou looked at his teeth and 
fangs, and wilt thou call that a chance? Why, sword and buckler 
whould be mere reed and papyrus against the rush of the mighty 
beast ! No, I think the true mercy has been not to leave him long 
in suspense ; and it was, therefore, fortunate for him that our be- 
nign laws are slow to pronounce, but swift to execute, and that 
the games of the amphitheatre had been, by a sort of providence, 
so long since fixed for to-morrow. He who awaits death dies 
twice." 

"As for the atheist," said Clodius, "he is to cope the grim 
tiger naked-handed. Well, these combats are past betting on. 
Who will take the odds?" 

A peal of laughter announced the ridicule of the question. 

" Poor Clodius !" said the host ; " to lose a friend is something, 
but to find no one to bet on the chance of his escape is a worse 
misfortune to thee." 

" Why, it is provoking. It would have been some consolation 
to him and to me to think he was useful to the last." 

" The people," said the grave Pansa, "are all delighted with 
the result. They were so much afraid the sports at the amphi- 
theatre would go off without a criminal for the beasts. And now 
to get two such criminals is indeed a joy for the poor fellows ! 
They work hard. They ought to have some amusement." 

1 ' There speaks the popular Pansa, who never moves without 

Pliny says that, immediately before the irruption of Vesuvius, one of 
the Decuriones Aluiiicipales was, though the heaven was unclouded, struck 
dead by lightning. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 293 

a string of clients as long as an Indian triumph. He is al- 
ways prating about the people. Gods ! he will end by being a 
Gracchus !" 

" Certainly, I am no insolent aristocrat," said Pansa, with a 
generous air. 

"Well," observed Lepidus, "it would have been assuredly 
dangerous to have been merciful at the eve of a beast-fight. If 
ever / come to be tried, pray Jupiter there may be either no 
beasts m the vivaria, or plenty of criminals in the gaol." 

"And pray," said one of the party, " what has become of the 
poor girl whom Glaucus was to have married ? A widow without 
being a bride. That is hard ! " 

" Oh," returned Clodius, "she is safe under the protection of 
her guardian, Arbaces. It was natural she should go to him when 
she had lost both lover and brother." 

" By sweet Venus ! Glaucus was fortunate among the women. 
They say the rich Julia was in love with him." 

"A mere fable, my friend," said Clodius, coxcombically. " I 
was with her to-day. If any feeling of the sort she ever 
conceived, I flatter myself that /have consoled her." 

" Hush, gentlemen !" said Pansa ; ' do you know that Clodius 
is employed at the house of Diomed in blowing hard at the torch? 
It begins to burn, and will soon shine bright on the shrine of 
Hymen." 

" Is it so ?" said Lepidus. ' ' What ! Clodius become a married 
man? Fie!" 

" Never fear," answered Clodius ; "old Diomed is delighted at 
the notion of marrying his daughter to a nobleman, and will come 
down largely with the sesterces. You will see that I shall not 
lock them up in the atrium. It will be a white day for his jolly 
friends when Clodius marries an heiress." 

" Say you so?" cried Lepidus ; "come, then, a full cup to the 
health of the fair Julia." 

While such was the conversation one not discordant to the 
tone of mind common among the dissipated of the day, and which 
might, perhaps, a century ago, have found an echo in the looser 
circles of Paris while such, I say, was the conversation in the 
gaudy triclinium of Lepidus, far different the scene which scowled 
before the young Athenian. 

After his condemnation, Glaucus was admitted no more to the 
gentle guardianship of Sallust, the only friend of his distress. He 
was led along the forum, till the guards stopped at a small door 
by the side of the Temple of Jupiter. You may see the place 
still. The door opened in the centre in a somewhat singular 
fashion, revolving round on its hinges, as it were, like a modern 



294 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

turnstile, so as only to leave half the threshold open at the same 
time. Through this narrow aperture they thrust the prisoner, 
placed before him a loaf and a pitcher of water, and left him to 
darkness, and, as he thought, to solitude. So sudden had been 
that revolution of fortune which had prostrated him from the 
palmy height of youthful pleasure and successful love to the 
lowest abyss of ignominy and the horror of a most bloody 
death, that he could scarcely convince himself that he was not 
held in the meshes of some fearful dream. His elastic and 
glorious frame had triumphed over a potion, the greater part 
of which he had fortunately not drained. He had recovered 
sense and consciousness, but still a dim and misty depression 
clung to his nerves and darkened his mind. His natural courage 
and the Greek nobility of pride, enabled him to vanquish all un- 
becoming apprehension, and, in the judgment court, to face his 
awful lot with a steady mien and unquailing eye. But the con- 
sciousness of innocence scarcely sufficed to support him when the 
gaze of men no longer excited his haughty valour, and he was 
left to loneliness and silence. He felt the damps of the dungeon 
sink chillingly into his enfeebled frame. He the fastidious, the 
luxurious, the refined he who had hitherto braved no hardship 
and known no sorrow ! Beautiful bird that he was ! why had 
he left his fair and sunny clime, the olive groves of his native 
hills, the music of immemorial streams? Why had he wantoned 
on his glittering plumage amidst these harsh and ungenial 
strangers, dazzling the eye with his gorgeous hues, charming the 
ear with his blithesome song thus suddenly to be arrested ; 
caged in darkness ; a victim and a prey ; his gay flights for ever 
over ; his hymns of gladness for ever stilled. The poor Athenian ! 
his very faults the exuberance of a gentle and joyous nature, how 
little had his past career fitted him for the trials he was destined 
to undergo. The hoots of the mob, amidst whose plaudits he had 
so often guided his graceful car and bounding steed, still rung grat- 
ingly in his ear. The cold and stony faces of his former friends, 
the co-mates of his merry revels, still rose before his eye. None 
now were by to soothe, to sustain, the admired, the adulated 
stranger. These walls opened but on the dread arena of a 
violent and shameful death. And lone ! of her, too, he had heard 
nought no encouraging word, no pitying message. She, too, 
had forsaken him ; she believed him guilty and of what crime? 
the murder of a brother ! He ground his teeth ; he groaned 
aloud ; and ever and anon a sharp fear shot across him. In that 
fell and fierce delirium which had so unaccountably seized his 
soul, which had so ravaged the disordered brain, might he not, 
indeed, unknowing to himself, have committed the crime of 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 295 

which he was accused? Yet, as the thought flashed upon him, 
it was as suddenly checked ; for, amidst all the darkness of the 
past, he thought distinctly to recall the dim grove of Cybele, the 
upward face of the pale dead, the pause that he had made be- 
side the corpse, and the sudden shock that felled him to the 
earth. He felt convinced of his innocence ; and yet who, to the 
latest time, long after his mangled remains were mingled with 
the elements, would believe him guiltless, or uphold his fame? 
As he recalled his interview with Arbaces, and the causes of re- 
venge which had been excited in the heart of that dark and fear- 
ful man, he could not but believe that he was the victim of some 
deep-laid and mysterious snare the clue and train of which he 
was lost in attempting to discover : and lone Arbaces loved her 
might his rival's success be founded upon his ruin? This 
thought cut him more deeply than all ; and his noble heart was 
more stung by jealousy than appalled by fear. Again he groaned 
aloud. 

A voice from the recess of the darkness answered that burst of 
anguish. " Who " (it said) "is my companion in this awful hour? 
Athenian Glaucus, is it thou?" 

" So, indeed, they called me in mine hour of fortune ; they may 
have other names for me now. And thy name, stranger?" 

" Is Olinthus, thy co-mate in the prison at the trial." 

"What! he whom they call the atheist? Is it the injustice 
of men that hath taught thee to deny the providence of the 
gods?" 

"Alas !" answered Olinthus ; " thou, not I, art the true atheist, 
for thou deniest the sole true God, the Unknown One, to whom 
thy Athenian fathers erected an altar. It is in this hour that I 
know my God. He is with me in the dungeon ; his smile pene- 
trates the darkness ; on the eve of death my heart whispers im- 
mortality, and earth recedes from me but to bring the weary soul 
nearer unto heaven. 

"Tell me," said Glaucus, abruptly, "did I not hear thy name 
coupled with that of Apascides in my trial ? Dost thou believe 
me guilty?" 

" God alone reads the heart ; but my suspicion rested not npon 
thee." 

"On whom, then?" 

"Thy accuser, Arbaces." 

" Ha ! thou cheerest me ; and wherefore?" 

" Because I know the man's evil breast, and he had cause to 
fear him who is now dead." 

With that, Olinthus proceeded to inform Glaucus of those de- 
tails which the reader aiready knows ; the conversion of Apae- 



296 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

cides, the plan they had proposed for the detection of the im- 
postures of the Egyptian priestcraft, and of the seductions 
practised by Arbaces upon the youthful weakness of the pro- 
selyte. "Had, therefore," concluded Olinthus "had the de- 
ceased encountered Arbaces, reviled his treasons, and threatened 
detection, the place, the hour, might have favoured the wrath 
of the Egyptian, and passion and craft alike dictated the fatal 
blow." 

"It must have been so!" cried Glaucus, joyfully; " I am 
happy." 

' ' Yet, what, O unfortunate ! avails to thee now the discover}' ? 
Thou art condemned and fated ; and in thine innocence thou wilt 
perish." 

"But I shall know myself guiltless ; and in my mysterious 
madness I had fearful, though momentary doubts. Yet tell me, 
man of a strange creed, thinkest thou that for small errors or for 
ancestral faults, we are ever abandoned and accursed by the 
powers above, whatever name thou allottest to them ?" 

"God is just, and abandons not his creatures for their mere 
human frailty. God is merciful, and curses none but the wicked 
who repent not. 

"Yet it seemeth to me as if, in the divine anger, I had been 
smitten by a sudden madness ; a supernatural and solemn frenzy, 
wrought not by human means." 

" There are demons on earth," answered the Nazarene, fear- 
fully, ' ' as well as there are God and his Son in heaven ; and 
since thou acknowledges! not the last, the first may have had 
power over thee." 

. Glaucus did not reply, and there was a silence for some minutes. 
At length the Athenian said, in a changed and soft and half-hesi- 
tating voice, ' ' Christian, believest thou, among the doctrines of 
thy creed, that the dead live again ; that they who have loved 
here are united hereafter ; that beyond the grave our good name 
shines pure from the mortal mists that unjustly dim it in the 
gross-eyed world ; and that the streams which are divided by the 
desert and the rock meet in the solemn Hades, and flow once 
more into one?" 

"Believe I that, O Athenian? No, I do not believe I 
know I and it is that beautiful and blessed assurance which 
supports me now. O Cyllene ! " continued Olinthus, passion- 
ately, " bride of my heart ! torn from me in the first month of 
our nuptials, shall I not see thee yet, and ere many days be 
past? Welcome, welcome death, that will bring me to heaven 
and thee ! " 

There was something in this sudden burst of human affection 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 297 

which strack a kindred chord in the soul of the Greek. He felt, 
for the first time, a sympathy greater than mere affection between 
him and his companion. He crept nearer towards Olinthus ; 
for the Italians, fierce in some points, were not unnecessarily 
cruel in others ; they spared the separate cell and the superfluous 
chain, and allowed the victims of the arena the sad comfort 
of such freedom and such companionship as the prison would 
afford. 

"Yes," continued the Christian, with holy fervour, "the im- 
mortality of the soul, the resurrection, the re-union of the dead, is 
the great principal of our creed the great truth a god suffered 
death itself to attest and proclaim. No fabled Elysium, no poetic 
Orcus, but a pure and radiant heritage of heaven itself, is the 
portion of the good. 

"Tell me, then, thy doctrines, and expound to me thy hopes," 
said Glaucus, earnestly. 

Olinthus was not slow to obey that prayer ; and there as 
oftentimes in the early ages of the Christian creed it was in 
the darkness of the dungeon, and over the approach of death, 
that the dawning Gospel shed its soft and consecrating rays. 



CHAPTER XVII. 
A CHANCE FOR GLAUCUS. 

THE hours passed in lingering torture over the head of 
Nydia from the time in which she had been replaced in 
her cell. 

Sosia, as if afraid he should be again outwitted, had refrained 
from visiting her until late in the morning of the following day, 
and then he but thrust in the periodical basket of food and wine, 
and hastily reclosed the door. That day rolled on, and Nydia 
felt herself pent, barred, inexorably confined, when that day was 
the judgment day of Glaucus, and when her release would have 
saved him. Yet, knowing that, almost impossible as seemed her 
escape, the sole chance for the life of Glaucus rested on her, 
this young girl, frail, passionate, and acutely susceptible as 
she was, resolved not to give way to a despair that would 
disable her from seizing whatever opportunity might occur. 
She kept her senses whenever, beneath the whirl of intolerable 
thought they reeled and tottered ; nay, she took food and wine 
that she might sustain her strength that she might be prepared. 

She resolved scheme after scheme of escape, and was forced to 
dismiss all. Yet Sosia %vas her only hope, the only instrument 
with which she could tamper. He had been superstitious in the 



298 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII, 

hope of ascertaining whether he could eventually purchase his 
freedom. Blessed gods ! might he not be won by the bribe of 
freedom itself? was she not nearly rich enough to purchase it ! 
Her slender arms were covered with bracelets, the presents of 
lone ; and on her neck she yet wore that very chain which it may 
be remembered had occasioned her jealous quarrel with Glaucus, 
and which she had afterwards promised vainly to wear for ever. 
She waited burningly till Sosia should again appear ; but as hour 
after hour passed, and he came not, she grew impatient. Every 
nerve burned with fever ; she could endure the solitude no longer 
she groaned, she shrieked aloud she beat herself against the 
door. Her cries echoed along the hall, and Sosia, in peevish 
anger, hastened to see what was the matter, and silence his 
prisoner if possible. 

" Ho, ho ! what is this?" said he, surlily. "Young slave, if 
thou screamest out thus, we must gag thee. My shoulders will 
smart for it if thou art heard by my master." 

" Kind Sosia, chide me not I cannot endure to be so long 
alone," answered Nydia ; " the solitude appals me. Sit with me, 
I pray, a little while. Nay, fear not that I should attempt to 
escape ; place thy seat before the door. Keep thine eye on me 
I will not stir from this spot." 

Sosia, who was a considerable gossip himself, was moved by 
this address. He pitied one who had nobody to talk with it was 
his case too ; he pitied, and resolved to relieve himself! He took 
the hint of Nydia, placed a stool before the door, leant his back 
against it, and replied 

" I am sure I do not wish to be churlish ; and so far as a little 
innocent chat goes, I have no objection to indulge you. But 
mind, no tricks no more conjuring." 

" No, no ; tell me, dear Sosia, what is the hour?" 
" It is already evening the goats are going home." 
" O gods ! How went the trial?" 
" Both condemned." 

Nydia repressed a shriek. " Well, well, I thought it would be 
so. When do they suffer ?" 

"To-morrow, in the amphitheatre. If it were not for thee, 
little wretch ! I should be allowed to go with the rest and see 
it." 

Nydia leant back for some moments. Nature could endure 
no more she had fainted away. But Sosia did not perceive 
it, for it was the dusk of eve, and he was full of his own pri- 
vations. He went on lamenting the loss of so delightful a 
show, and accusing the injustice of Arbaces for singling him 
out from all his fellows to be converted into a gaoler ; and ere 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 299 

he had half finished, Nydia, with a deep sigh, recovered the sense 
of life. 

' ' Thou sighest, blind one, at my loss ! Well, that is some 
comfort ; so long as you acknowledge how much you cost me, I 
will endeavour not to grumble. It's hard to be ill-treated, and 
yet not pitied." 

" Sosia, how much dost thou require to make up the purchase 
of thy freedom ?" 

" How much ? Why, about two thousand sesterces." 
"The gods be praised ! not more? Seest thou these bracelets 
and this chain ! They are well worth double that sum. I will 
give them thee if " 

" Tempt me not ; I cannot release thee: Arbaces is a severe 
and awful master. Who knows but I might feed the fishes of the 
Sarnus ? Alas ! all the sesterces in the world would not buy me 
back into life. Better a live dog than a dead lion. " 

" Sosia, thy freedom ! Think well ! If thou wilt let me out, 
only for one little hour ; let me out at midnight, I will return ere 
to-morrow's dawn ; nay, thou canst go with me." 

" No," said Sosia, sturdily ; " a slave once disobeyed Arbaces, 
and he was never more heard of." 

" But the law gives a master no power over the life of a 
slave. " 

" The law is very obliging, but more polite than efficient: I 
know that Arbaces always gets the law on his side. Besides, if I 
am once dead, what law can bring me to life again?" 

Nydia wrung her hands " Is there no hope, then?" said she, 
convulsively. 

" None of escape, till Arbaces gives the word." 

"Well, then," said Nydia, quickly, "thou wilt not at least 
refuse to take a letter for me. Thy master cannot kill thee for 
that." 

" To whom?" 

" The prsetor." 

" To a magistrate? no ! Not I I should be made a witness 
in court for what I know ; and the way they cross-examine a slave 
is by the torture." 

' ' Pardon : I meant not the praetor it was a word that escap- 
ed me unawares ; I meant quite another person the gay 
Sallust." 

' ' Oh ! and what want you with him ?" 

" Glaucus was my master ; he purchased me from a cruel lord. 
He alone has been kind to me. He is to die. I shall never live 
happily if I cannot in this hour of trial and doom, let him know 



300 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

that one heart is grateful to him. Sallust is his friend ; he will 
convey my message." 

"I am sure he will do no such thing. Glaucus will have 
enough to think of between this and to-morrow without troubling 
his head about a blind girl." 

" Man," said Nydia, rising, "wilt thou become free? Thou 
hast the offer in thy power ; to-morrow it will be too late. 
Never was freedom more cheaply purchased. Thou canst 
easily and unmissed leave home ; less than half an hour will 
suffice for thine absence. And for such a trifle wilt thou refuse 
liberty?" 

Sosia was greatly moved. It was true the request was remark- 
ably silly ; but what was that to him ? So much the better. He 
could lock the door on Nydia ; and if Arbaces should learn his 
absence, the offence was venial, and would merit but a repri- 
mand. Yet, should Nydia's letter contain something mre than 
what she had said should it speak of her imprisonment, as he 
shrewdly conjectured it would do what then? It need never 
be known to Apbaces that he had carried the letter. At the 
worst, the bribe was enormous the risk light the temptation 
irresistible. He hesitated no longer he assented to the pro- 
posal. 

' ' Give me the trinkets, and I will take the letter. Yet stay 
thou art a slave, thou hast no right to these ornaments they are 
thy master's." 

' ' They were the gifts of Glaucus ; he is my master. What 
chance hath he to claim them ? Who else will know they are in 
my possession ?" 

" Enough : I will bring thee the papyrus." 

" In a few minutes Nydia had concluded her letter, which 
she took the precaution to write in Greek, the language of her 
childhood, and which almost every Italian of the higher ranks 
was then supposed to know. She carefully wound round the 
epistle the protecting thread, and covered its knot with wax ; 
and ere she placed it in the hands of Sosia, she thus addressed 
him: 

"Sosia, I am blind and in prison. Thou mayst think to 
deceive me; thou mayst pretend only to take this letter to 
Sallust ; thou mayst not fulfil thy charge. But here I solemnly 
dedicate thy head to vengeance, thy soul to the infernal powers, 
if thou wrongest thy trust ; and I call upon thee to place thy 
right hand of faith in mine, and repeat after me these words : 
' By the ground on which we stand ! by the elements which 
contain life and can curse life I by Orcus, the all-avenging ! by 
the Olympian Jupiter, the all-seeing 1 I swear that I win honestly 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 301 

discharge my trust, and faithfully deliver into the hands of 
Sallust this letter. And if I perjure myself in this oath, may 
the full curses of heaven and hell be wreaked upon me !' 
Enough ! I trust thee : take thy reward. It is already dark 
depart at once." 

"Thou art a strange girl, and thou hast frightened me terri- 
bly ; but it is all very natural : and if Sallust is to be found, I 
give him this letter as I have sworn. By my faith, I may have 
mv little peccadilloes; but perjury no! I leave that to my 
betters." 

\\ mi this Sosia withdrew, carefully passing athwart Nydia's 
door the heavy bolt carefully locking its wards ; and, hanging 
the key to his girdle, he retired to his own den, enveloped him- 
self from head to foot in a huge disguising cloak, and slipped 
out by the back way undisturbed and unseen. 

The streets were thin and empty. He soon gained the house 
of Sallust. The porter bade him leave his letter, and be gone ; 
for Sallust was so grieved at the condemnation of GJaucus, that 
he could not on any account be disturbed. 

"Nevertheless, I have sworn to give this letter into his own 
hand. Do so I must!" And Sosia, well knowing by experience 
that Cerberus loves a sop, thrust some half a dozen sesterces into 
the hand of the porter. 

"Well, well," said the latter, relenting, "you may enter if 
you will ; but, to tell you the truth, Sallust is drinking himself 
out of his grief. It is his way when anything disturbs him. 
He orders a capital supper, the best wine, and does not give over 
till everything is out of his head but the liquor." 

"An excellent plan excellent ! Ah, what it is to be rich ! If 
I were Sallust, I would have some grief or another every day. 
But just say a kind word for me with the atriensis I see him 
coming." 

Sallust was too sad to receive company ; he was too sad also 
to drink alone ; so, as was his wont, he admitted his favourite 
freedman to his entertainment and a stranger banquet never 
was held. For ever and anon the kind-hearted epicure sighed, 
whimpered, wept outright, and then turned with double zest to 
some new dish, or his refilled goblet. 

" My good fellow," said he to his companion, "it was a most 
awful judgment heighp ! it is not bad, that kid, eh? Poor, 
dear Glaucus ! what a jaw the lion has, too ! Ah, ah, ah!" 

And Sallust sobbed loudly ; the fit was stopped by a counterac- 
tion of hiccups. 

"Take a cup of wine," said the freedman. 

" A thought too cold ; but then how cold Glaucus must be I 



302 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Shut up the house to-morrow not a slave shall stir forth none 
of my people shall honour that cursed arena. No, no !" 

"A cup of wine your grief distracts you. By the gods it 
does ! a piece of that cheese-cake. " 

It was at this auspicious moment that Sosia was admitted to 
the presence of the disconsolate carouser. 

" Ho ! what art thou ?" 

' ' Merely a messenger to Sallust. I give him this billet from 
a young lady. There is no answer that I know of. May I 
withdraw ?" 

Thus said the discreet Sosia, keeping his face muffied in his 
cloak, and speaking with a feigned voice, so that he might not 
hereafter be recognised. 

' ' By the gods a pimp ! Unfeeling wretch ! do you not see 
my sorrows? Go! and the curses of Pandarus with you." 

Sosia lost not a moment in retiring. 

"Will you read the letter, Sallust?" said the freedman. 

"Letter! -which letter!" said the epicure, reeling, for he be- 
gan to see double. " A curse on these wenches, say I ! Am I a 
man to think of (hiccup} pleasure, when when my friend is 
going to be eat up?' 1 

"Eat another tartlet!" 

" No, no ! My grief chokes me !" 

"Take him to bed," said the freedman ; and, Sallust's head 
now declining fairly on his breast, they bore him off to his cubi- 
culum, still muttering lamentations for Glaucus, and impreca- 
tions on the unfeeling invitations of ladies of pleasure. 

Meanwhile Sosia strode indignantly homeward. "Pimp, in- 
deed !" quoth he to himself. "Pimp! a scurvy-tongued fellow 
that Sallust. Had I been called knave, or thief, I could have 
forgiven it ; but pimp ! Faugh ! there is something in the word 
which the toughest stomach in the world would rise against. A 
knave is a knave for his own pleasure, and a thief a thief for his 
own profit, and there is something honourable and philosophical 
in being a rascal for one's own sake : that is doing things upon 
principle upon a grand scale. But a pirnp is a thing that 
denies itself for another! a pipkin, that is put on the fire for 
another man's pottage! a napkin, that every guest wipes his 
hands upon ! and the scullion says ' by your leave' too ! A pimp ! 
I would rather he had called me parricide ! But the man was 
drunk, and did not know what he said ; and, besides, I dis- 
guised myself. Had he seen it had been Sosia who addressed 
him, it would have been, 'honest Sosia 1' and ' worthy man !' I 
warrant. Nevertheless, the trinkets have been won easily that's 
some comfort I and, O goddess Feronia ! I shall be a freedman 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 303 

soon! and then I should like to see who'll call me pimp! 
unless, indeed, he pay me pretty handsomely for it!" 

While Sosia was soliloquising in this high-minded and gener- 
ous vein, his path lay along a narrow lane that led towards the 
amphitheatre and its adjacent palaces. Suddenly, as he turned 
a sharp corner, he found himself in the midst of a considerable 
crowd. Men, women, and children, all were hurrying on, 
laughing, talking, gesticulating ; and, ere he was aware of it, 
the worthy Sosia was borne away with the noisy stream. 

" What now?" he asked of his nearest neighbour, a young 
artificer ; ' ' what now ? Where are all these good folks throng- 
ing? Does any rich patron give away alms or viands to- 
night?" 

"Not so, man better still," replied the artificer ; "the noble 
Pansa, the people's friend, has granted the public leave to see 
the beasts in their vivaria. By Hercules ! they will not be seen 
so safely by some persons to-morrow !" 

" 'Tis a pretty sight," said the slave, yielding to the throng 
that impelled him onward; "and since I may not go to the 
sports to-morrow, I may as well take a peep at the beasts to- 
night." 

"You will do well," returned his new acquaintance ; "a lion 
and a tiger are not to be seen at Pompeii every day." 

The crowd had now entered a broken and wide space of 
ground, on which, as it was only lighted scantily and from a 
distance, the press became dangerous to those whose limbs and 
shoulders were not fitted for a mob. Nevertheless, the women 
especially many of them with children in their arms, or even at 
the breast were the most resolute in forcing their way ; and 
their shrill exclamations of complaint or objurgation were heard 
loud above the more jovial and masculine voices. Yet amidst 
them was a young and girlish voice, that appeared to come from 
one too happy in her excitement to be alive to the inconvenience 
of the crowd. 

" Aha !" cried the young woman, to some of her companions, 
" I always told you so ; I always said we should have a man for 
the lion ; and now we have one for the tiger, too ! I wish to- 
morrow were come ! 

" H9 ! ho ! for the merry, merry show.l 
With a forest of faces in every row ; 
Lo< the swordsmen, bold as the son of Alcmaena, 
Sweep, side by side, o'er the hushed arena. 
Talk while you may, you will hold your breath 
When they meet in the grasp of the glowing death ! 
Tramp ! tramp ! how gaily they go ! 
Ho ! ho ! for the merry, merry show !" 



304 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" A jolly girl !" said Sosia. 

"Yes," replied the young artificer, a curly-headed, handsome 
youth. "Yes!" replied he, enviously; "the women love a 
gladiator. If I had been a slave, I would have soon found my 
schoolmaster in the lanista !" 

" Would you, indeed !" said Sosia, with a sneer. " People's 
notions differ!" 

The crowd had now arrived at the place of destination ; but 
as the cell in which the wild beasts were confined was ex- 
tremely small and narrow, tenfold more vehement than it hither- 
to had been was the rush and press of the aspirants to obtain 
admittance. Two of the officers of the amphitheatre, placed 
at the entrance, very wisely mitigated the evil by dispensing to 
the foremost only a limited number of tickets at a time, and 
admitting no new visitors till their predecessors had sated their 
curiosity. Sosia, who was a tolerably stout fellow, and not 
troubled with any remarkable scruples of diffidence or good- 
breeding, contrived to be among the first of the initiated. 

Separated from his companion the artificer, Sosia found him- 
self in a narrow cell of oppressive heat and atmosphere, and 
lighted by several rank and flaring torches. 

The animals, usually kept in different vivaria, or dens, were 
now, for the greater entertainment of the visitors, placed in one, 
but equally indeed divided from each other by strong cages pro- 
tected by iron bars. 

There they were, the fell and grim wanderers of the desert, 
who have now become almost the principal agents of this story. 
The lion, who, as being the more gentle by nature than his 
fellow-beast, had been more incited to ferocity by hunger, 
stalked restlessly and fiercely to and fro his narrow confines : 
his eyes were lurid with rage and famine ; and as, every now and 
then, he paused and glared around, the spectators fearfully 
pressed backward, and drew their breath more quickly. But 
the tiger lay quiet and extended at full length in his cage, and 
only by an occasional play of his tail, or a long impatient yawn, 
testified any emotion at his confinement, or at the crowd which 
honoured him with their presence. 

" I have seen no fiercer beast than yon lion even in the amphi- 
theatre of Rome," said a gigantic and sinewy fellow who stood 
at the right hand of Sosia. 

"I feel humbled when I look at his limbs," replied, at the left 
of Sosia, a slighter and younger figure, with his arms folded on 
his breast. 

The slave looked first at one, and then at the other. " Virtus 
in medio! Virtue is ever in the middle!" muttered he to him- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 305 

self; " a goodly neighbourhood for thee, Sosia ; a gladiator on 
each side !" 

"That is well said, Lydon," returned the huger gladiator ; " I 
feel the same." 

"And to think," observed Lydon, in a tone of deep feeling, 
*' to think that the noble Greek, he whom we saw but a day 
or two since before us, so full of youth, and health, and joyous- 
ness, is to feast yon monster !" 

' ' Why not ? growled Niger, savagely ; ' ' many an honest 
gladiator has been compelled to a like combat by the emperor ; 
why not a wealthy murderer by the law ?" 

Lydon sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and remained silent. 
Meanwhile, the common gazers listened with staring eyes and 
lips apart. The gladiators were objects of interest as well as the 
beasts ; they were animals of the same species ; so the crowd 
glanced from one to the other the men and the brutes whisper- 
ing their comments and anticipating the morrow. 

"Well !" said Lydon, turning away, " I thank the gods that 
it is not the lion or the tiger / am to contend with ; even you, 
Niger, are a gentler combatant than they." 

" But equally dangerous," said the gladiator, with a fierce 
laugh ; and the bystanders, admiring his vast limbs and ferocious 
countenance, grinned too. 

"That as it may be," answered Lydon, carelessly, as he 
pressed through the throng and quitted the den. 

" I may as well take advantage of his shoulders," thought the 
prudent Sosia, hastening to follow him ; " the crowd always give 
way to a gladiator, so I will keep close behind, and come in for 
a share of his consequence." 

The son of Medon strode quickly through the mob, many of 
whom recognised his features and profession. 

" That is young Lydon a brave fellow, he fights to-morrow," 
said one. 

"Ah ! I have a bet on him," said another ; " see how firmly 
he walks!" 

" Good luck to thee, Lydon !" said a third. 

"Lydon, you have my wishes!" half-whispered a fourth, 
smiling a comely woman of the middle class >" and if you win, 
why, you may hear more of me." 

"A handsome man, by Venus I" cried a fifth, who was a girl 
scarce in her teens. 

"Thank you," returned Sosia, gravely taking the compliment 
to himself. 

However strong the purer motives of Lydon, and certain 
though it be that he would never have entered so bloody a call- 

T 



306 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

ing but from the hope of obtaining his father's freedom, he was 
not altogether unmoved by the notice he excited. He forgot 
that the voices now raised in commendation might, on the mor- 
row, be shouting over his death-pangs. Fierce and reckless, as 
well as generous and warm-hearted, by nature, he was already 
imbued with the pride of a profession that he fancied he dis- 
dained, and affected by the influence of a companionship, that in 
reality he loathed. He saw himself now a man of importance ; 
his step grew yet lighter, and his mien more elate. 

" Niger," said he, turning suddenly, as he had now threaded 
the crowd, ' ' we have often quarrelled ; we are not matched 
against each other but one of us, at least, may reasonably ex- 
pect to fall ; give us thy hand !" 

" Most readily," said Sosia, extending his palm. 

"Ha! what fool is this? why, I thought Niger was at my 
heels!" 

"I forgive the mistake," replied Sosia, condescendingly; 
" don't mention it ; the error was easy. I and Niger are some- 
what of the same build !" 

"Ha ! ha ! that is excellent ! Niger would have slit thy throat 
had he heard thee!" 

' ' You gentlemen of the arena have a most disagreeable mode 
of talking," said Sosia ; "let us change the conversation." 

" Vah ! vah !" said Lydon, impatiently ; "1 am in no humour 
to converse with thee!" 

"Why, truly," returned the slave, "you must have serious 
thoughts enough to occupy your mind. To-morrow is, I think, 
your first essay in the arena. Well, I am sure you will die 
bravely!" 

" May thy words fall on thine own head!" said Lydon, super- 
stitiously, for he by no means liked the blessing of Sosia. "Die! 
No ; I trust my hour is not yet come !" 

"He who plays at dice with death must expect the dog's 
throw," replied Sosia, maliciously : "but you are a strong fellow, 
and I wish you all imaginable luck ; and so vale !" 

With that the slave turned on his heel, and took his way 
homeward. 

"I trust the rogue's words were not ominous," said Lydon 
musingly, "In my zeal for my father's liberty, and my confi- 
dence in my own thews and sinews, I have not contemplated 
the possibility of death. My poor father ! I am thy only son ! 
If I were to fall " 

As the thought crossed him, the gladiator strode on with a 
more rapid and restless pace, when suddenly, in an opposite 
street, he beheld the very object of his thoughts. Leaning on 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 307 

his stick, his form bent by care and age, his eyes downcast, 
and his steps trembling, the .grey-haired Medon slowly appro- 
ached towards the gladiator. Lydon paused a moment ; he 
divined at once the cause that brought forth the old man at 
that late hour. 

" Be sure, it is I whom he seeks," thought he ; " he is horror- 
struck at the condemnation of Olinthus ; he more than ever 
esteems the arena criminal and hateful ; he comes again to dis- 
suade me from the contest. I must shun him. I cannot brook 
his prayers his tears !" 

These thoughts, so long to recite, flashed across the young 
man like lightning. He turned abruptly, and flew swiftly in an 
opposite direction. He paused not till, almost spent and breath- 
less, he found himself on the summit of a small acclivity which 
overlooked the most gay and splendid part of that miniature 
city; and as he there paused, and gazed along the tranquil 
streets, glittering in the rays of the moon (which had just arisen, 
and brought partially and picturesquely into light the crowd 
around the amphitheatre at a distance, murmuring, and swaying 
to and fro,) the influence of the scene affected him, rude and" 
unimaginative though his nature. He sat himself down to rest 
upon the steps of a deserted portico, and felt the calm of 
the hour quite restore him. Opposite and near at hand, the 
lights gleamed from a palace in which the master now held his 
revels. The doors were open for coolness, and the gladiator 
beheld the numerous and festive group gathered round the tables 
in the atrium ;* while behind them, closing the long vista of the 
illumined rooms beyond, the spray of the distant fountain 
sparkled "in the moonbeams. There, were the garlands wreathed 
round the columns of the hall there, gleamed still and frequent 
the marble statue there, amidst peals of jocund laughter, rose 
the music and the lay. 

EPICUREAN SONGK 

Away with your stories of Hades, 
Which the flamen has forged to affright ui.I 

We laugh at your three Maiden Ladies, 
Your Fates, and your sullen Cocytus. 

Poor Jore has a troublesome life, sir, 

Could we credit your tales of bis portals 
In shutting his ears on his wife, sir, 

And opening his eyes upon mortals. 
Oh, blest be the bright Epicurus ! 

Who taught us to laugh at such fables ; 

In the atrium, as I have elsewhere observed, a larger party of guests 
than ordinary was frequently entertained. 



308 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

On Hades they wanted to moor us, 
And his hand cat the terrible cables. 

If, then, there's a Jove or a Juno, 

They vex not their heads about us, man; 
Besides, if they did, I and you know 

'Tis the life of a god to lire thus , man ! 

What ! think you the gods place their bliss eh f 

In playing the spy on a sinner ? 
In counting the girls that we kiss eh ? 

Or the cups that we empty at dinner f 

Content with the soft lips that lore us, 
This music, this wine, and this mirth, boys, 

We care not for gods up above us 
We know there's no god for this earth, boys! 

While Lydon's piety (which, accommodating as it might be, 
was in no slight degree disturbed by these verses, which em- 
bodied the fashionable philosophy of the day) slowly recovered 
itself from the shock it had received, a small party of men, in 
plain garments and of the middle class, passed by his resting- 
place. They were in earnest conversation, and did not seem to 
notice or heed the gladiator as they moved on. 

"O horror on horrors!" said one; "Olinthus is snatched 
from us ! our right arm is lopped away ! When will Christ des- 
cend to protect his own 7" 

" Can human atrocity go further?" said another. " To sen- 
tence an innocent man to the same arena as a murderer ! But 
let us not despair : the thunder of Sinai may yet be heard, and 
the Lord preserve his saint. ' The fool has said in his heart, 
There is no God.' " 

At that moment out broke again, from the illumined palace, 
the burden of the revellers' song : 

" We care not for gods np above us 

We know there's no god for this earth, boys!" (g)* 

Ere the words died away, the Nazarenes, moved by sudden in- 
dignation, caught up the echo, and, in the words of one of their 
favourite hymns, shouted aloud 

THE WARNING HYMN OF THE NAZARENIS. 

Around about for ever near thee, 
God OUK GOD shall mark and hear thee I 
On His car of storm He sweeps ! 
Bow, ye heavens, and shrink, ye deeps ! 
Woe to the proud ones who defy Him I- 
Woe to the dreamers who deny Him ! 

Woe to the wicked, woe! 

The proud stars shall fail 
The sun shall grow pale 

See Note (?) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF "POMPEII. 309 

The heavens shrivel up like a scroll 
Hell's ocean shall bare 
Its depths of despair. 
Each wave an eternal soul I 
For the only thing, then, 
That shall not live again 

Is the corpse of the giant TIME I 
Hark, the trumpet of thunder ! 
Ix>, earth rent asunder! 
And, forth, on His Angel-throne, 
HE comes through the gloom, 
The Judge of the Tomb, 
To summon and save His own ! 

Oh joy to Care, and woe to Crime, 
He comes to save His own ! 
Woe to the proad ones who defy Him ! 
Woe to the dreamers who deny Him ! 

Woe to the wicked, woe ! 

A sudden silence from the startled hall of revel succeeded 
these ominous words : the Christians swept on, and were soon 
hidden from the sight of the gladiator. Awed, he scarce knew 
why, by the mystic denunciations of the Christians, Lydon, after 
a short pause, now rose to pursue his way homeward. 

Before him, how serenely slept the star-light on that lovely 
city ! how breathlessly its pillared streets reposed in their 
security ! how softly rippled the dark-green waves beyond ! 
how cloudless spread, aloft and blue, the dreaming Campanian 
skies ! Yet this was the Last Night for the gay Pompeii ! the 
colony of the hoar Chaldean 1 the fabled city of Hercules I the 
delight of the voluptuous Roman ! Age after age had rolled, 
indestructive, unheeded, over its head : and now the last ray 
quivered on the dial-plate of its doom ! The gladiator heard 
some light steps behind a group of females were wending 
homeward from their visit to the amphitheatre. As he turned, 
his eye was arrested by a strange and sudden apparition. From 
the summit of Vesuvius, darkly visible at the distance, there shot 
a pale, meteoric, livid light it trembled an instant, and was 
gone. And at the same moment that his eye caught it, the 
voice of one of the youngest of the women broke out hilariously 
and shrill 

" Tramp, tramp ! how gaily they go ! 
Ho, ho ! for the morrow's merry shoff I" 



310 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 
BOOK THE FOURTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE DREAM OF ARBACES. A VISITOR AND A WARNING TO 
THE EGYPTIAN. 

r |^HE awful night proceeding the fierce joy of the amphitheatre 
1 rolled drearily away, and greyly broke forth the dawn of 
THE LAST DAY OF POMPEII ! The air was uncommonly calm 
and sultry ; a thin and dull mist gathered over the valleys and 
hollows of the broad Campanian fields. But yet it was remarked 
in surprise by the early fishermen, that, despite the exceeding 
stillness of the atmosphere, the waves of the sea were agitated, 
and seemed, as it were, to run disturbedly back from the shore ; 
while along the blue and stately Sarnus, whose ancient breadth 
of channel the traveller now vainly seeks to discover, there crept 
a hoarse and sullen murmur, as it glided by the laughing plains 
and gaudy villas of the wealthy citizens. Clear above the low 
mist rose the time-worn towers of the immemorial town, the red- 
tiled roof of the bright streets, the solemn columns of many tem- 
ples, and the statue-crowned portals of the Forum and the Arch 
of Triumph. Far in the distance, the outline of the circling 
hills soared above the vapours, and mingled with the changeful 
hues of the morning sky. The cloud that had so long rested 
over the crest of Vesuvius had suddenly vanished, and its rugged 
and haughty brow looked without a frown over the beautiful 
scenes below. 

Despite the earliness of the hour, the gates of the city were 
opened. Horseman upon horseman, vehicle after vehicle, 
poured rapidly in ; and the voices of numerous pedestrian 
groups, clad in holiday attire, rose high in joyous and excited 
merriment ; the streets were crowded with citizens and strangers 
from the populous neighbourhood of Pompeii ; and noisily 
fast confusedly swept the many streams of life towards the fatal 
show. 

Despite the vast size of the amphitheatre, seemingly so dispro- 
portioned to the extent of the city, and formed to include nearly 
the whole population of Pompeii itself so great, on extraordin- 
ary occasions, was the concourse of strangers from all parts of 
Campania, that the space before it was usually crowded for 
several hours previous to the commencement of the sports, by 
such persons as were not entitled by their rank to appointed 
and special seats. And the intense curiosity which the trial 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 311 

and sentence of two criminals so remarkable had occasioned, 
increased the crowd on this day to an extent wholly unprece- 
dented. 

While the common people, with the lively vehemence of their 
Campanian blood, were thus pushing, scrambling, hurrying on ; 
yet, amidst all their eagerness, preserving, as is now the wont 
with Italians in such meetings, a wonderful order and unquarrel- 
some good-humour, a strange visitor to Arbaces was threading 
her way to his sequestered mansion. At the sight of her quaint 
and primaeval garb of her wild gait and gestures the pas- 
sengers she encountered touched each other and smiled ; but as 
they caught a glimpse of her countenance, the mirth was hushed 
at once, for the face was as the face of the dead ; and, what 
with the ghastly features and obsolete robes of the stranger, it 
seemed as if one long entombed had risen once more amongst 
the living. In silence and awe each group gave way as she passed 
along, and she soon gained the broad porch of the Egyptian's 
palace. 

The black porter, like the rest of the world, astir at an unusual 
hour, started as he opened the door to her summons. 

The sleep of the Egyptian had been unusually profound 
during the night ; but, as the dawn a proached, it was dis- 
turbed by strange and unquiet dreams, which impressed him 
the more as they were coloured by the peculiar philosophy he 
embraced. 

He thought that he was transported to the bowels of the earth, 
and that he stood alone in a mighty cavern, supported by enor- 
mous columns of rough and primaeval rock, lost, as they ascend- 
ed, in the vastness of a shadow athwart whose eternal darkness 
no beam of day had ever glanced. And in the space between 
these columns were huge wheels, that whirled round and round 
unceasingly, and with a rushing and roaring noise. Only to the 
right and left extremities of the cavern, the space between the 
pillars was left bare, and the apertures stretched away into gal- 
leries not wholly dark, but dimly lighted by wandering and 
erratic fires, that, meteor-like, now crept (as the snake creeps) 
along the rugged and dark soil, and now leapt fiercely to and 
fro, darting across the vast gloom in wild gambols suddenly dis- 
appearing, and as suddenly bursting into tenfold brilliancy and 
power. And while he gazed wonderingly upon the gallery to the 
left, thin, mist-like, aerial shapes passed slowly up ; and when 
they had gained the hall they seemed to rise aloft, and to vanish, 
as the smoke vanishes, in the measureless ascent. 

He turned in fear towards the opposite extremity and behold! 
there came swiftly, from the gloom above, similar shadows, which 



312 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

swept hurriedly along the gallery to the right, as if borne in- 
voluntarily adown the tides of some invisible stream ; and the 
faces of these spectres were more distinct than those that emerged 
from the opposite passage ; and on some was joy, and on others 
sorrow ; some were vivid with expectation and hope, some unut- 
terably dejected by awe and horror. And so they passed swift 
and constantly on, till the eyes of the gazer grew dizzy and blind- 
ed with the whirl of an ever-varying succession of things impelled 
by a power apparently not their own. 

Arbaces turned away, and in the recess of the hall, he saw the 
mighty form of a giantess seated upon a pile of skulls, and her 
hands were busy upon a pale and shadowy woof ; and he saw 
that the woof communicated with the numberless wheels, as if it 
guided the machinery of their movements. He thought his feet, 
by some secret agency, were impelled towards the female, and 
that he was borne onwards till he stood before her, face to face. 
The countenance of the giantess was solemn, and hushed, and 
beautifully serene. It was as the face of some colossal sculpture 
of his own ancestral sphinx. No passion no human emotion, 
disturbed its brooding and unwrinkled brow ; there, was neither 
sadness, nor joy, nor memory, nor hope ; it was free from all 
with which the wild human heart can sympathise. The mystery 
of mysteries rested on its beauty it awed, but terrified not ; it 
was the Incarnation of the Sublime. And Arbaces felt the voice 
leave his lips, without an impulse of his own ; and the voice 
asked, 

" Who art thou, and what is thy task?" 

"I am That which thou hast acknowledged," answered, without 
desisting from its work, the mighty phantom. " My name is 
NATURE ! These are the wheels of the world, and my hand 
guides them for the life of all things." 

"And what," said the voice of Arbaces, are these galleries, 
that, strangely and fitfully illumined, stretch on either hand into 
the abyss of gloom ?" 

"That," answered the giant-mother, " which thou beholdest to 
the left, is the gallery of the unborn. The shadows that flit on- 
ward and upward into the world, are the souls that pass from the 
long eternity of being to their destined pilgrimage on earth. That 
which thou beholdest to the right, wherein the shadows descend- 
ing from above sweep on, equally unknown and dim, is the gal- 
lery of the Dead !" 

"And wherefore," said the voice of Arbaces, "yon wandering 
lights that so wildly break the darkness, but only break, not 
reveal?" 

"Dark fool of the human sciences! dreamer of the stars, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 313 

and would-be decipherer of the heart and origin of things ! 
those lights are but the glimmerings of such knowledge as is 
vouchsafed to Nature to work her way, to trace enough of the 
past and future to give providence to her designs. Judge, then, 
puppet as thou art, what lights are reserved for thee ! " 

Arbaces felt himself tremble as he asked again, "Wherefore 
am I here?" 

" It is the forecast of thy soul the prescience of thy rushing 
doom the shadow of thy fate lengthening into eternity as it de- 
clines from earth." 

Ere he could answer, Arbaces felt a rushing WIND sweep down 
the cavern, as the wings of a giant god. Borne aloft from the 
ground, and whirled on high as a leaf in the storms of autumn, 
he beheld himself in the midst of the Spectres of the Dead, and 
hurrying with them along the length of the gloom. As in vain 
and impotent despair he struggled against the impelling 
power, he thought the WIND grew something like a shape a 
spectral outline of the wings and talons of an eagle, with limbs 
floating far and indistinctly along the air, and eyes that, alone 
clearly and vividly seen, glared stonily and remorselessly on his 
own. 

" What art thou?" again said the voice of the Egyptian. 

" 1 am That which thou hast acknowledged;" and the spectre 
laughed aloud '-'and my name is NECESSITY." 

" To what dost thou bear me?" 

"To the Unknown." 

" To happiness or to woe?" 

"As thou has sown so shall thou reap." 

"Dread thing, not so! If thou art the Ruler of Life, thine 
are my misdeeds, not mine." 

" I am but the breath of God !" answered the mighty WIND. 

"Then is my wisdom vain !" groaned the dreamer. 

" The husbandman accuses not fate when, having sown thistles, 
he reaps not corn. Thou hast sown crime, accuse not fate if thou 
reapest not the harvest of virtue." 

The scene suddenly changed. Arbaces was in a palace of 
human bones ; and lo ! in the midst of them was a skull, and the 
skull, still retaining its fleshless hollows, assumed slowly, and in 
the mysterious confusion of a dream, the face of Apaecides ; and 
forth from the grinning jaws there crept a small worm, and it 
crawled to the feet of Arbaces. He attempted to stamp on it, 
and crush it ; but it became longer and larger with that attempt. 
It swelled and bloated till it grew into a vast serpent ; it coiled 
itself round the limbs of Arbaces ; it crunched his bones ; it raised 
its glaring eyes and poisonous jaws to his face. He writhed in 



314 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

vain ; he withered he gasped beneath the influence of the blight- 
ing breath he felt himself blasted into death. And then a voice 
came from the reptile, which still bore the face of Apaecides, and 
rang in his reeling ear, 

" Thy victim is thy judge! the -worm thou wouldst crush dt- 
comes the serpent that devours thee!" 

With a shriek of wrath, and woe, and despairing resistance, 
Arbaces awoke his hair on end his brow bathed in dew his 
eyes glazed and staring his mighty frame quivering as an in- 
fant's, beneath the agony of that dream. He awoke : he collect- 
ed himself ; he blessed the gods whom he disbelieved, that he 
was in a dream ! he turned his eyes from side to side ; he saw 
the dawning light break through his small but lofty window ; he 
was in the Precincts of Day ; he rejoiced he smiled ; his eyes 
fell, and opposite to him he beheld the ghastly features, the life- 
less eye, the livid lip of the Hag of Vesuvius ! 

"Ha!" he cried, placing his hands before his eyes, as to 
shut out the grisly vision, "do I dream still? Am I with the 
dead?" 

" Mighty Hermes no! Thou art with one death-like, but not 
dead. Recognise thy friend and slave." 

There was a long silence. Slowly the shudders that passed 
over the limbs of the Egyptian chased each other away, faintlier 
and faintlier dying till he was himself again. 

" It was a dream, then ! " said he. " Well, let me dream no 
more, or the day cannot compensate for the pangs of night. 
Woman, how earnest thou here, and wherefore?" 

" I came to warn thee," answered the sepulchral voice of the 
Sagar. 

"Warn me ! The dream lied not, then ? Of what peril?" 

" Listen to me. Some evil hangs over this fated city. Fly 
while it be time. Thou knowest that I hold my home on the 
mountain beneath which old tradition saith there yet burn the 
fires of the river of Phlegethon ; and in my cavern is a vast 
abyss, and in that abyss I have of late marked a red and dull 
stream creep slowly, slowly on ; and heard many and mighty 
sounds hissing and roaring through the gloom. But last night, 
as I looked thereon, behold the stream was no longer dull, but 
intensely and fiercely luminous ; and while I gazed, the beast 
that liveth with me, and was cowering by my side, uttered a 
shrill howl, and fell down and died,* and the slaver and froth 
was round his lips. I crept back to my lair ; but I distinctly 
heard, all the night, the rock shake and tremble ; and, though 

* We may suppose that the exhalations were similar in effect to those in 
the Grotta del Cane. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 315 

the air was heavy and still, there were the hissing of pent 
winds, and the grinding as of wheels, beneath the ground. So, 
when I rose this morning, at the very birth of dawn, I looked 
again down the abyss, and I saw vast fragments of stone borne 
black and floatingly over the lurid stream ; and the stream itself 
was broader, fiercer, redder, than the night before. Then I 
went forth, and ascended to the summit of the rock ; and in 
that summit there appeared a sudden and vast hollow, which I 
had never perceived before, from which curled a dim faint smoke; 
and the vapour was deathly, and I gasped, and sickened, and 
nearly died. I returned home. I took my gold and my drugs, 
and left the habitation for many years ; for I remembered the 
dark Etruscan prophecy which saith ' When the mountain 
opens, the city shall fall ; when the smoke crowns the Hill of 
the Parched Fields, there shall be woe and weeping in the 
hearths of the Children of the Sea.' Dread master, ere I leave 
these walls for some more distant dwelling, I come to thee. 
As thou livest, know I in my heart that the earthquake that six- 
teen years ago shook this city to its solid base, was but the fore- 
runner of more deadly doom. The walls of Pompeii are built 
above the fields of the Dead, and the rivers of the sleepless Hell. 
Be warned, and fly !" 

" Witch, I thank thee for thy care of one not ungrateful. On 
yon table stands a cup of gold ; take it, it is thine. I dreamt 
not that there lived one, out of the priesthood of Isis, who would 
have saved Arbaces from destruction. The signs thou hast seen 
in the bed of the extinct volcano," continued the Egyptian, mus- 
ingly, "surely tell of some coming danger to the city ; perhaps 
another earthquake fiercer than the last. Be that as it may, there 
is a new reason for my hastening from these walls. After this 
day I will prepare my departure. Daughter of Etruria, whither 
wendest thou?'' 

"I shall cross over to Herculaneum this day, and, wandering 
thence along the coast, shall seek out a new home. I am 
friendless ; my two companions, the fox and the snake, are both 
dead. Great Hermes, thou hast promised me twenty additional 
years of life 1" 

"Ay," said the Egyptian, "I have promised thee. But, 
woman," he added, lifting himself upon his arm, and gazing 
curiously on her face, "tell me, I pray thee, wherefore thou 
wishest to live? What sweets dost thou discover in existence?" 

" It is not life that is sweet, but death that is awful," replied 
the hag, in a sharp, impressive tone, that struck forcibly upon the 
heart of the vain star-seer. He winced at the tmth of the reply ; 
and, no longer anxious to retain so uninviting a companion, he 



316 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

said, "Time wanes ; I must prepare for the solemn spectacle of 
this day. Sister, farewell ! enjoy thyself as thou canst over the 
ashes of life." 

The hag, who had placed the costly gift of Arbaces in the loose 
folds of her vest, now rose to depart. When he had gained the 
door she paused, turned back, and said, ' ' This may be the last 
time we meet on earth ; but whither flieth the flame when it leaves 
the ashes? Wandering to and fro, up and down, as an exhala- 
tion on the morass, the flame may be seen in the marshes of the 
lake below ; and the witch and the magian, the pupil and the 
master, the great one and the accursed one, may meet again. 
Farewell?" 

" Out, croaker !" muttered Arbaces, as the door closed on the 
hag's tattered robes ; and, impatient of his own thoughts, not 
yet recovered from the past dream, he hastily summoned his 
slaves. 

It was the custom to attend the ceremonials of the amphi- 
theatre in festive robes, and Arbaces arrayed himself that day 
with more than usual care. His tunic was of the most dazzling 
white ; his many fibulae were formed from the most precious 
stones ; over his tunic flowed a loose eastern robe, half gown, 
half mantle, glowing in the richest hues of the Tyrian dye ; and 
the sandals, that reached half way up the knee, were studdied 
with gems, and inlaid with gold. In the quackeries that belong 
to his priestly genius, Arbaces never neglected on great occa- 
sions, the arts which dazzle and impose upon the vulgar ; and 
on this day, that was for ever to release him, by the sacrifice 
of Glaucus, from the fear of a rival and the chance of detection, 
he felt that he was arraying himself as for a triumph or a nuptial 
feast. 

It was customary for men of rank to be accompanied to the 
shows of the amphitheatre by a procession of their slaves and 
freedmen ; and the long "family" of Arbaces were already ar- 
ranged in order, to attend the litter of their lord. 

Only, to their great chagrin, the slaves in attendance on lone, 
and the worthy Sosia, as gaoler to Nydia, were condemned to 
remain at home. 

"Callias," said Arbaces, apart to his freed man, who was 
buckling on his girdle, ' ' I am weary of Pompeii ; I propose to 
quit it in three days, should the wind favour. Thou knowest the 
vessel that lies in the harbour, and belongs to Narces, of Alex- 
andria ; I have purchased it of him. The day after to-morrow 
we shall begin to remove my stores." 

"So soon! 'Tis well. Arbaces shall be obeyed; and his 
ward, lone?"' 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 317 

" Accompanies me. Enough ! Is the morning fair ? " 

" Dim and oppressive ; it will probably be intensely hot in the 
forenoon." 

" The poor gladiators, and more wretched criminals ! Descend, 
and see the slaves are marshalled." 

Left alone, Arbaces stepped into his chamber of study, and 
thence upon the portico without. He saw the dense masses of 
men pouring fast into the amphitheatre, and heard the cry of the 
assistants, and the cracking of the cordage, as they were strain- 
ing aloft the huge awning under which the citizens, molested by 
no discomforting ray, were to behold, at luxurious ease, the 
agonies of their fellow-creatures. Suddenly a wild, strange 
sound went forth, and as suddenly died away it was the roar 
of the lion. There was a silence in the distant crowd ; but the 
silence was followed by joyous laughter, they were making 
merry at the hungry impatience of the royal beasts. 

" Brutes I" muttered the disdainful Arbaces, "are ye less homi- 
cides than I am ? / slay but in self-defence ; ye make murder 
pastime." 

He turned, with a restless and curious eye, towards Vesuvius. 
Beautifully glowed the green vineyards round its breast, and tran- 
quil as eternity lay in the breathless skies the form of the mighty 
hill. 

"We have time yet, if the earthquake be nursing," thought 
Arbaces ; and he turned from the spot. He passed by the table 
which bore his mystic scrolls and Chaldean calculations. 

"August art!" he thought. " I have not consulted thy decrees 
since I passed the danger and the crisis they foretold. What 
matter? I know that henceforth all in my path is bright and 
smooth Have not events already proved it ? Away, doubt ! 
away, pity ! Mirror, O my heart, mirror, for the future, but two 
images Empire and lone !" 



CHAPTER II. 

THE AMPHITHEATRE. 

NYDIA, assured by the account of Sosia, on his return home, 
and satisfied that her letter was in the hands of Sallust, 
gave herself up once more to hope. SSallust would surely lose no 
time in seeking the praetor in coming to the house of the 
Egyptian in releasing her in breaking the prison of Calenus. 
That very night Glaucus would be free. Alas ! the night passed 
the dawn broke ; she heard nothing but the hurried footsteps 
of the slaves along the hall and peristyle, and their voices in 



31 8 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

preparation for the show. By-and-by, the commanding voice 
of Arbaces broke on her ear ; a flourish of music rung out cheerily: 
the long procession were sweeping to the amphitheatre to glut 
their eyes on the death-pangs of the Athenian ! 

The procession of Apaecides moved along slowly, and with 
solemnity, till now, arriving at the place where it was necessary 
for such as came in litters or chariots to alight, Arbaces descend- 
ed from his vehicle, and proceeded to the entrance by which the 
more distinguished spectators were admitted. His slaves, mingl- 
ing with the humbler crowd, were stationed by officers who 
received their tickets (not much unlike our modern Opera 
ones), in places in the fopularia (the seats apportioned to the 
vulgar). And now, from the spot where Arbaces sat, his eye 
scanned the mighty and impatient crowd that filled the stupen- 
dous theatre. 

On the upper tier, but apart from the male spectators, sat the 
women, their gay dresses resembling some gaudy flower-bed ; it 
is needless to add that they were the most talkative part of the 
assembly ; and many were the looks directed up to them, 
especially from the benches appropriated to the young and the 
unmarried men. On the lower seats round the arena sat the 
more high-born and wealthy visitors, the magistrates, and those 
of senatorial or equestrian* dignity : the passages which, by cor- 
ridors at the right and left, gave access to these seats, at either 
end of the oval arena, were also the entrances for the combatants. 
Strong palings at these passages prevented any unwelcome eccen- 
tricity in the movements of the beasts, and confined them to 
their appointed prey. Around the parapet which was raised 
above the arena, and from which the seats gradually rose, were 
gladiatorial inscriptions, and paintings wrought in fresco, typical 
of the entertainments for which the place was designed. 
Throughout the whole building wound invisible pipes, from 
which, as the day advanced, cooling and fragrant showers were 
to be sprinkled over the spectators, The officers of the amphi- 
theatre were still employed in the task of fixing the vast awning, 
or velaria, which covered the whole, and which'luxurious inven- 
tion the Campanians arrogated to themselves : it was woven of 
the whitest Apulian wool, and variegated with broad stripes of 
crimson. Owing either to some inexperience on the part of the 
workmen, or to some defect in the machinery, the awning, how- 
ever, was not arranged that day so happily as usual: indeed, 
from the immense space, of the circumference, the task was al- 
ways one of great difficulty and art ; so much so, that it could 

The equites sat immediately behind the senators. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. Jtg 

seldom be adventured in rough or windy weather. But the 
present day was so remarkably still that there seemed to the 
spectators no excuse for the awkwardness of the artificers ; 
and when a large gap in the back of the awning was still 
visible, from the obstinate refusal of one part of the velaria to 
ally itself with the rest, the murmurs of discontent were loud and 
general. 

The aedile Pansa, at whose expense the exhibition was given, 
looked particularly annoyed at the defect, and vowed bitter ven- 
geance on the head of the chief officer of the show, who, fretting, 
puffing, perspiring, busied himself in idle orders and unavailing 
threats. 

The hubbub ceased suddenly the operators desisted the 
crowd were stilled the gap was forgotten for now, with a loud 
and warlike nourish of trumpets, the gladiators, marshalled in 
ceremonious procession, entered the arena. They swept round 
the oval space very slowly and deliberately, in order to give 
the spectators full leisure to admire their stern serenity of 
features their brawny limbs and various arms, as well as to 
form such wagers as the excitement of the moment might 
suggest. 

" Oh !" cried the widow Fulvia to the wife of Pansa, as they 
leant down from their lofty bench, "do you see that gigantic 
gladiator? how drolly he is dressed!" 

"Yes," said the eedile's wife, with complacent importance, for 
she knew all the names and qualities of each combatant ; " he is 
a retiarius or netter. He is armed only, you see, with a three 
pronged spear like a trident, and a net ; he wears no armour, 
only, the fillet and the tunic. He is a mighty man, and is to fight 
with Sporus, yon thick-set gladiator with the round shield and 
drawn sword, but without body-armour. He has not his helmet 
on now, in order that you may see his face : how fearless it is ! 
by-and-by he will fight with his visor down." 

' ' But surely a net and a spear are poor arms against the shield 
and sword?" 

' ' That shows how innocent you are, my dear Fulvia ; the 
retiarius generally has the best of it." 

"But who is yon handsome gladiator, nearly naked, is it 
not quite improper? By Venus, but his limbs are beautifully 
shaped !" 

"It is Lydon, a young untried man. He has the rashness 
to fight yon other gladiator similarly dressed, or rather un- 
dressed Tetraides. They fight first in the Greek fashion, with 
the cestus ; afterwards they put on armour, and try sword and 
shield." 



320 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" He is a proper man, this Lydon ; and the women, I am sure, 
are on his side." 

' ' So are not the experienced betters ; Clodius offers three to 
one against him." 

"Oh, Jove! how beautiful!" exclaimed the widow, as two 
gladiators, armed cap-a-pit, rode round the arena on light and 
prancing steeds. Resembling much the combatants in the tilts 
of the middle ages, they bore lances and round shields, beautifully 
inlaid ; their armour was woven intricately with bands of iron, but 
it covered only the thighs and the right arms ; short cloaks, ex- 
tending to the seat, gave a picturesque and graceful air to their 
costume ; their legs were naked, with the exception of sandals, 
which were fastened a little above the ankle. " Oh, beautiful ! 
who are these?" asked the widow. 

" The one is named Berbix he has conquered twelve times ; 
the other assumes the arrogant name of Nobilior. They are 
both Gauls." 

While thus conversing, the first formalities of the show were 
over. To these succeeded a feigned combat with wooden swords 
between the various gladiators matched against each other. 
Among these, the skill of two Roman gladiators, hired for the 
occasion, was the most admired ; and next to them the most 
graceful combatant was Lydon. This sham contest did not last 
above an hour, nor did it attract any very lively interest, except 
among those connoisseurs of the arena to whom art was prefer- 
able to more coarse excitement : the body of the spectators were 
rejoiced when it was over, and when the sympathy rose to terror. 
The combatants were now arranged in pairs, as agreed before- 
hand ; their weapons examined ; and the grave sport of the day 
commenced amidst the deepest silence broken only by an ex- 
citing and preliminary blast of warlike music. 

It was often customary to commence the sports by the most 
cruel of all, and some bestiarius, or gladiator appointed to the 
beasts, was slain first, as an initiatory sacrifice. But in the pre- 
sent instance, the experienced Pansa thought It better that the 
sanguinary drama should progress not decrease in interest ; 
and, accordingly, the execution of Olinthus and Glaucus was re 
served for the last. It was arranged that the two horsemen 
should first occupy the arena ; that the foot gladiators, paired 
off, should then be loosed indiscriminately on the stage ; that 
Glaucus and the lion should next perform their part in the bloody 
spectacle ; and the tiger and the Nazarene to be the grand finale. 
And, in the spectacles of Pompeii, the reader of Roman history 
must limit his imagination, nor expect to find those vast and 
wholesale exhibitions of magnificent slaughter with which a Nero 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 321 

or a Caligula regaled the inhabitants of the Imperial City. The 
Roman shows, which absorbed the more celebrated gladiators, 
and the chief proportion of foreign beasts, were, indeed, the very 
reason why, in the lesser towns of the empire, the sports of the 
amphitheatre were comparatively humane and rare ; and in this, 
as in other respects, Pompeii was but the miniature, the micro- 
cosm of Rome. Still, it was an awful and imposing spectacle, 
with which modern times have, happily, nothing to compare : a 
vast theatre, rising row upon row, and swarming with human 
beings, from fifteen to eighteen thousand in number intent upon 
no fictitious representation no tragedy of the stage ! but the 
actual victory or defeat the exultant life or the bloody death cf 
each and all who enter the arena ! 

The two horsemen were now at either extremity of the lists (if 
so they might be called) ; and, at a given signal from Pansa, the 
combatants started simultaneously as in full collision, each ad- 
vancing his round buckler, each poising on high his light yet 
sturdy javelin ; but, just when within three paces of his opponent, 
the steed of Berbix suddenly halted, wheeled round, and, as 
Nobilior was borne rapidly by, his antagonist spurred upon him. 
The buckler of Nobilior, quickly and skilfully extended, received 
a blow which otherwise would have been fatal. 

" Well done, Nobilior !" cried the praetor, giving the first vent 
to the popular excitement. 

"Bravely struck, my Berbix 1" answered Clodius, from his 
seat. 

And the wild murmur, swelled by many a shout, echoed from 
side to side. 

The visors of both the horsemen were completely closed (like 
those of the knights in after times), but the head was, neverthe- 
less, the great point of assault ; and Nobilior, now wheeling his 
charger with no less adroitness than his opponent, directed his 
spear full on the helmet of his foe. Berbix raised his buckler to 
shield himself ; and his quick-eyed antagonist, suddenly lowering 
his weapon, pierced him through the breast. Berbix reeled and 
fell. 

" Nobilior ! Nobilior !" shouted the populace. 

"I have lost ten sestertia," * said Clodius, through his teeth. 

" Habet! he has it," said Pansa, deliberately. 

The populace, not yet hardened into cruelty, made the signal 
of mrcy ; but as the attendants of the arena approached, they 
found the kindness came too late the heart of the Gaul had 
been pierced, and his eyes were set in death. It was his life's 

* A little more than 80. 



322 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

blood that flowed so darkly over the sand and sawdust of the 
arena. 

" It is a pity it was so soon over there was little enough for 
one's trouble," said the widow Fulvia. 

" Yes, I have no compassion for Berbix. Any one might have 
seen that Nobilior did but feint. Mark, they fix the fatal hook to 
the body they drag him away to the spoliarium they scatter 
new sand over the stage ! Pansa regrets nothing more than that 
he is not rich enough to strew the arena with borax and cinnabar, 
as Nero used." 

"Well, if it has been a brief battle, it is quickly succeeded. 
See my handsome Lydon on the arena ay, and the net-bearer, 
too and the swordsmen ! Oh, charming !" 

There were now on the arena six combatants Niger and his 
net, matched against Sporus with his shield and his short broad- 
sword Lydon and Tetraides, naked save by a cincture round the 
waist, each armed only with a heavy Greek cestus and two gladi- 
ators from Rome, clad in complete steel, and evenly matched with 
immense bucklers and pointed swords. 

The initiatory contest between Lydon and Tetraides being less 
deadly than that between the other combatants, no sooner had 
they advanced to the middle of the arena, than, as by common 
consent, the rest held back, to see how that contest should be 
decided, and wait till fiercer weapons might replace the cestus, 
ere they themselves commenced hostilities. They stood leaning 
on their arms and apart from each other, gazing on the show, 
which, if not bloody enough thoroughly to please the populace, 
they were still inclined to admire, because its origin was of their 
ancestral Greece. 

No person could, at first glance, have seemed less evenly 
matched than the two antagonists. Tetraides, though not taller 
than Lydon, weighed considerably more ; the natural size of his 
muscles was increased, to the eye of the vulgar, by masses of 
solid flesh ; for, as it was the notion that the contest of the ces- 
tus fared easiest with him who was plumpest, Tetraides had en- 
couraged to the utmost his hereditary predisposition to the 
portly. His shoulders were vast and his limbs thick-set, double- 
jointed, and lightly curved outward, in that formation which 
takes so much from beauty to give so largely to strength. But 
Lydon, except that he was slender even almost to meagreness, 
was beautifully aud delicately proportioned ; and the skilful 
might have perceived that, with much less compass of muscle 
than his foe, that which he had was more seasoned iron and 
compact. In proportion, too, as he wanted flesh, he was likely to 
possess activity ; and a haughty smile on his resolute face, which 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 323 

strongly contrasted the stolid heaviness of his enemy's, gave 
assurance to those who beheld it, and united their hope to their 
pity ; so that, despite the desparity of their seeming strength, 
the cry of the multitude was nearly as loud for Lydon as for 
Tetraides. 

Whoever is acquainted with the modem prize-ring whoever 
has witnessed the heavy and disabling strokes which the human 
fist, skilfully directed hath the power to bestow may easily un- 
derstand how much that happy facility would be increased by a 
band carried by thongs of leather round the arm as high as the 
elbow, and terribly strengthened about the knuckles by a plate of 
iron, and sometimes a plummet of lead. Yet this, which was 
meant to increase, perhaps rather diminished the interest of the 
fray for it necessarily shortened its duration ; a very few blows, 
successfully and scientifically planted, might suffice to bring the 
contest to a close ; and the battle did not, therefore, often allow 
full scope for that energy, fortitude, and dogged perseverance, 
which we technically style pluck, which not unusually wins the 
day against superior science, and which heightens to so pain- 
ful a delight the interest in the battle and the sympathy for the 
brave. 

" Guard thyself!" growled Tetraides, moving nearer and nearer 
to his foe, who rather shifted round him than receded. 

Lydon did not answer, save by a scornful glance of his quick, 
vigilant eye. Tetraides struck it was as the blow of a smith 
on a vice ; Lydon sank suddenly on one knee the blow passed 
over his head. Not so harmless was Lydon's retaliation. He 
quickly sprung to his feet, and aimed his cestus full on the 
broad breast of his antagonist. Tetraides reeled the populace 
shouted. 

"You are unlucky to-day," said Lepidus to Clodius ; "you 
have lost one bet you will lose another." 

' ' By the gods ! my bronzes go to the auctioneer if that is 
the case. I have had no less than a hundred sestertia* upon 
Tetraides. Ha, ha ! see see how he rallies ! That was a home 
stroke ; he has cut open Lydon's shoulder. A Tetraides ! a 
Tetraides !" 

" But Lydon is not disheartened. By Pollux! how very well 
he keeps his temper. See how dexterously he avoids those ham- 
mer-like hands ; dodging now here now there circling round 
and round ah, poor Lydon ! he has it again." 

" Well nine sestertia to three ; be it so. What ! again, Ly- 
don. He stops he gasps for breath. By the gods, he is downl 

Above 800. 



324 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

No he is again on his legs ! Brave Lydon ! Tetraides is en- 
couraged lie laughs aloud he rushes on him." 

" Fool success blinds him he should be cautious. Ly don's 
eye is like a lynx's !" said Clodius, between his teeth. 

"Ha, Clodius! saw you that? Your man totters! Another 
blow he falls he falls 1" 

" Earth revives him, then. He is once more up, but the blood 
rolls down his face." 

" By the thunderer! Lydon wins it. See how he presses on 
him. That blow on the temple would have crushed an ox ; it 
has crushed Tetraides. He falls again he cannot move habet 
habet r 

" Habet !" repeated Pansa. "Take them out and give them 
the armour and swords." 

" Noble editor," said the officers, " we fear that Tetraides will 
not recover in time ; howbeit, we will try." 

" Do so." 

In a few moments the officers, who had dragged off the stun- 
ned and insensible gladiator, returned with rueful countenances. 
They feared for his life ; he was utterly incapacitated from re- 
entering the arena. 

"In that case," said Pansa, "hold Lydon a sulditius; and 
the first gladiator that is vanquished, let Lydon supply his place 
with the victor." 

The people shouted their applause at this sentence ; then they 
again sunk into deep silence. The trumpets sounded loudly. 
The four combatants stood each against each, in prepared 
and stern array. 

"Dost thou recognise the Romans, my Clodius? Are they 
among the celebrated, or are they merely ordinarii f" 

"Eumolpus is a good second-rate swordsman, my Lepidus. 
Nepimus, the lesser man, I have never seen before ; but he is the 
son of one of the imperial fiscales,* and brought up in a proper 
school ; doubtless they will show sport. But I have no heart for 
the game ; I cannot win back my money I am undone. Curses 
on that Lydon ! who could have supposed he was so dexterous, 
or so lucky ! " 

"Well, Clodius, shall I take compassion on you and accept 
your own terms with these Romans?" 

"An even ten sestertia on Eumolpus, then?" 

"What! when Nepimus is untried? Nay, nay; tint is too 
bad." 

"Well, ten to eight!" 

Gladiators maintained by the emperor. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 325 

"Agreed." 

While the contest in the amphitheatre had thus commenced, 
there was one in the loftier benches for whom it had assumed, 
indeed, a poignant, a stifling interest. The aged father of Lydon, 
despite his Christian horror of the spectacle, in his agonised 
anxiety for his son, had not been able to resist being the specta- 
tor of his fate. One amidst a fierce crowd of strangers the 
lowest rabble of the populace the old man saw, felt nothing, 
but the form, the presence of his brave son ! Not a sound had 
escaped his lips when twice he had seen him fall to the earth ; 
only he had turned pale and his limbs trembled. But he 
uttered one low cry when he saw him victorious ; unconscious, 
alas ! of the more fearful battle to which that victory was but a 
prelude. 

" My gallant boy !" said he, and wiped his eyes. 

" Is he thy son?" said a brawny fellow to the right of the Naza- 
rene ; " he has fought well : let us see how he does by-and-by. 
Hark ! he is to fight the first victor. Now, old boy, pray the gods 
that that victor be neither of the Romans ; nor, next to them, the 
giant Niger." 

The old man sat down again and covered his face. The fray 
for the moment was indifferent to him ; Lydon was not one of the 
combatants. Yet yet, the thought flashed across him the fray 
was indeed of deadly interest ; the first who fell was to make way 
for Lydon ! He started up, and bent down, with straining eyes 
and clasped hands, to view the encounter. 

The first interest was attracted towards the combat of Niger 
with Sporus ; for this species of contest, from the fatal result 
which usually attended it, and from the great science it required 
in either antagonist, was always peculiarly inviting to the spec- 
tators. 

They stood at a considerable distance from each other. The 
singular helmet which Sporus wore, the visor of which was down, 
concealed his face ; but the features of Niger attracted a fearful 
and universal interest from their compressed and vigilant ferocity. 
Thus they stood for some moments, each eyeing each, until 
Sporus began slowly, and with great caution, to advance, holding 
his sword pointed, like a modern fencer's, at the breast of his 
foe. Niger retreated as his antagonist advanced, gathering up 
his net with his right hand, and never taking his small glittering 
eye from the movements of the swordsman. Suddenly, when 
Sporus had approached nearly at arm's length, the retiarius 
threw himself forward, and cast his net. A quick inflection of 
body saved the gladiator from the deadly snare : he uttered a 
sharp cry of joy and rage, and rushed upon Niger ; but Niger 



326 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

had already drawn in his net, thrown it across his shoulders, 
and now fled round the lists with a swiftness which the secutor* 
in vain endeavoured to equal. The people laughed and 
shouted aloud, to see the ineffectual efforts of the broad-shoul- 
dered gladiator to overtake the flying giant ; when, at that mo- 
ment, their attention was turned from these to the two Roman 
combatants. 

They had placed themselves at the onset face to face, at the 
distance of modern fencers from each other ; but the extreme 
caution which both evinced at first had prevented any warmth of 
engagement, and allowed the spectators full leisure to interest 
themselves in the battle between Sporus and his foe. But the 
Romans were now heated into full and fierce encounter : they 
pushed returned advanced on retreated from each other 
with all that careful yet scarcely perceptible caution which char- 
acterises men well experienced and equally matched. But at 
this moment, Eumolpus, the elder gladiator, by that dexterous 
back-stroke which was considered in the arena so difficult to 
avoid, had wounded Nepimus in the side. The people shouted ; 
Lepidus turned pale. 

" Ho !" said Clodius, " the game is nearly over. If Eumolpus 
fights now the quiet fight, the other will gradually bleed himself 
away." 

" But, thank the gods ! he does not fight the backward fight 1 
See, he presses hard upon Nepimus ! By Mars ! but Nepimus 
had him there ; the helmet rang again ! Clodius, I shall win !" 

"Why do I ever bet but at the dice?" groaned Clodius to him- 
self; " or why cannot one cog a gladiator?" 

"A Sporus ! a Sporus !" shouted the populace, as Niger, hav- 
ing now suddenly paused, had again cast his net, and again un- 
successfully. He had not retreated this time with sufficient 
agility the sword of Sporus had inflicted a severe wound upon 
his right leg ; and, incapacitated to fly, he was pressed hard by 
the fierce swordsman. His great height and length of arm still 
continued, however, to give him no despicable advantages ; and 
steadily keeping his trident at the front of his foe, repelled him 
successfully for several minutes. Sporus now tried, by great 
rapidity of evolution, to get round his antagonist, who necessarily 
moved with pain and slowness. In so doing, he lost his caution 
he advanced too near to the giant raised his arms to strike, 
and received the three points of the.fatal spear full in his breast! 
He sank on his knee. In a moment more, the deadly net 

So called, from the office of that tribe of gladiators, in following the foe 
the moment the net was cast, in order to smite him ere he could have time 
to rearrange ft. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 3x7 

was cast over him, he struggled against its meshes in vain ; 
again again again he writhed mutely beneath the fresh 
strokes of the trident ; - his blood flowed fastly through the net 
and redly over the sand ! He lowered his arms in acknowledg- 
ment of defeat. 

The conquering retiarius withdrew his net, and leaning on 
his spear, looked to the audience for their judgment. Slowly, 
too, at the same moment the vanquished gladiator rolled his dim 
and despairing eyes around the theatre. From row to row, from 
from bench to bench, there glared upon him but merciless and 
unpitying eyes ! 

Hushed was the roar the murmur ! The silence was dread, 
for in it was no sympathy ; not a hand no, not even a woman's 
hand. gave the signal of charity and life ! Sporus had never 
been popular in the arena ; and, lately, the interest of the combat 
had been excited on behalf of the wounded Niger. The people 
were warmed into blood the mimic fight had ceased to charm, 
the interest had mounted up to the desire of sacrifice and the 
thirst of death ! 

The gladiator felt that his doom was sealed : he uttered no 
prayer no groan. The people gave the signal of death ! In 
dogged but agonised submission, he bent his neck to receive the 
fatal stroke. And now, as the spear of the retiarius was not a 
weapon to inflict instant and certain death, there stalked into the 
arena a grim and fatal form, brandishing a short, sharp, sword, 
and with features utterly concealed beneath its visor. With slow 
and measured steps, this dismal headsman approached the gladi- 
ator, still kneeling laid his left hand on his humbled crest drew 
the edge of the blade across his neck turned round to the as- 
sembly, lest, in the last moment, remorse should come upon 
them : the dread signal continued the same : the blade glittered 
brightly in the air fell and the gladiator rolled upon the sand ; 
his limbs quivered were still, he was a corpse ! * 

His body was dragged at once from the arena through the gate 
of death, and thrown into the gloomy den termed technically the 
spoliarium. And ere it had well reached that destination the 
strife between the remaining combatants was decided. The sword 
of Eumolpus had inflicted the death-wound upon the less experi- 
enced combatant. A new victim was added to the receptacle of 
the slain. 

Throughout that mighty assembly there now ran a universal 
movement ; the people breathed more freely, and resettled them- 
selves in their seats. A grateful shower was cast over every 

* See the engraving from the friezes at Pompeii, in the work on that city, 
published in the "Library of Entertaining Knowledge," vol. ii. p. 311. 



328 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

row from the concealed conduits. In cool and luxurious plea- 
sure they talked over the late spectacle of blood. Eumolpus 
removed his helmet, and wiped his brows ; his close-curled hair 
and short beard, his noble Roman features and bright dark eye, 
attracted the general admiration. He was fresh, unwounded, 
unfatigued. 

The editor paused, and proclaimed aloud that as Niger's wound 
disabled him from again entering the arena, Lydon was to be the 
successor to the slaughtered Nepimus, and the new combatant of 
Eumolpus. 

" Yet, Lydon," added he, " if thou wouldst decline the com- 
bat with one so brave and tried, thou mayest have full liberty 
to do so. Eumolpus is not the antagonist that was originally 
decreed for thee. Thou knowest best how far thou canst cope 
with him. If thou failest thy doom is honourable death ; if thou 
conquerest, out of my own purse I will double the stipulated 
prize." 

The people shouted applause. Lydon stood in the lists, he 
gazed around ; high above, he beheld the pale face, the strain- 
ing eyes of his father. He turned away irresolute for a moment. 
No ; the conquest of the cestus was not sufficient he had not yet 
won the price of victory his father was still a slave. 

" Noble aedile !" he replied, in a firm and deep tone. " I shrink 
not from this combat. For the honour of Pompeii, I demand that 
one trained by its long-celebrated lanista shall do battle with this 
Roman." 

The people shouted louder than before. 

" Four to one against Lydon !" said Clodius to Lepidus. 

" I would not take twenty to one! Why, Eumolpus is a very 
Achilles, and this poor fellow is but a tiro / " 

Eumolpus gazed hard on the face of Lydon ; he smiled ; yet the 
smile was followed by a slight and scarce audible sigh a touch 
of compassionate emotion, which custom conquered the moment 
the heart acknowledged it. 

And now, both clad in complete armour, the sword drawn, 
the visor closed, the two last combatants of the arena (ere 
man, at least, was matched with beast) stood opposed to each 
other. 

It was just at this time that a letter was delivered to the praetor 
by one of the attendants of the arena ; he removed the cincture 
glanced over it for a moment his countenance betrayed surprise 
and embarrassment. He re-read the letter, and then muttering 
"Tushl it is impossible ! the man must be drunk, even in the 
morning, to dream of such follies !" threw it carelessly aside, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 329 

and gravely settled himself once more, in the attitude of attention 
to the sports. 

The interest of the public was wound up very high. Eumol- 
pus had at first won their favour ; but the gallantry of Lydon 
and his well-timed allusion to the honour of the Pompeian 
lanista, had afterwards given the latter the preference in their 
eyes. 

" Hollo, old fellow!" said Medon's neighbour to him. " Your 
son is hardly matched ; but never fear, the editor will not permit 
him to be slain no, nor the people neither ; he has behaved too 
bravely for that. Ha ! that was a home thrust ! well averted, by 
Pollux I At him again, Lydon they stop to breathe. What art 
thou muttering, old boy? ' 

" Prayers," answered Medon, with a more calm and hopeful 
mien than he had yet maintained. 

" Prayers ! trifles ! The time for gods to carry a man away in 
a cloud is gone now. Ha, Jupiter ! what a blow ! Thy side thy 
side ! take care of thy side, Lydon ! " 

There was a convulsive tremor throughout the assembly. A 
fierce blow from Eumolpus, full on the crest, had brought Lydon 
to his knee. 

" Habetlb& has it !" cried a shrill female voice ; " he has it 
huzzah !" 

It was the voice of the girl who had so anxiously anticipated 
the sacrifice of some criminal to the beasts. 

' ' Be silent, child !" said the wife of Pansa, haughtily. " Non 
habet! he is not wounded!" 

" I wish he were, if only to spite old surly Medon," muttered 
the girl. 

Meanwhile Lydon, who had hitherto defended himself with 
great skill and valour, began to give way before the vigorous 
assaults of the practised Roman ; his arm grew tired, his eye 
dizzy, he breathed hard and painfully. The combatants paused 
again for breath. 

"Young man," said Eumolpus, in a low voice, " desist ; I will 
wound thee slightly then lower thy arms ; thou hast propitiated 
the editor and the mob thou wilt be honourably saved." 

"And my father still enslaved," groaned Lydon to himself. 
" No 1 death or his freedom." 

At that thought, and seeing that, his strength not being equal 
to the endurance of the Roman, everything depended on a sud- 
den and desperate effort, he threw himself fiercely on Eumolpus; 
the Roman warily retreated Lydon thrust again Eumolpus 
drew himself aside the sword grazed his cuirass Lydon's 
breast was exposed the Roman plunged his sword through the 



330 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

joints of the armour, not meaning, however, to inflict a deep 
wound ; Lydon, weak and exhausted, fell fonvard fell right on 
the point: it passed through and through, even to the back! 
Eumolpus drew forth his blade ; Lydon still made an effort to 
regain his balance his sword left his grasp he struck mechani- 
cally at the gladiator with his naked hand, and fell prostrate on 
the arena. With one accord the editor and assembly made the 
signal for mercy the officer of the arena approached they took 
off the helmet of the vanquished. He still breathed ; his eyes 
rolled fiercely on his foe ; the savageness he had acquired in his 
calling glared from his gaze, and lowered upon the brow darken- 
ed already with the shades of death ; then with a convulsive 
groan, with a half start, he lifted his eyes above. They rested 
not on the face of the editor, nor on the pitying brows of his re- 
lenting judges. He saw them not; they were as if the vast 
space was desolate and bare ; one pale agonising face alone 
was all he recognised one cry of a broken heart was all that, 
amidst the murmurs and the shouts of the populace, reached 
his ear. The ferocity vanished from his brow ; a soft, and tender 
expression of sanctifying but despairing filial love played over 
his features played waned darkened 1 His face suddenly be- 
came locked and rigid, resuming its former fierceness. He fell 
upon the earth. 

" Look to him," said the aedile ; " he has done his duty !" 

The officers dragged him off to the spoliarium. 

"A true type of glory and its fate!" murmured Arbaces to him- 
self ; and his eye, glancing round the amphitheatre, betrayed so 
much of disdain and scorn, that whoever encountered it felt his 
breath suddenly arrested, and his emotions frozen into one sensa- 
tion of abasement and of awe. 

Again rich perfumes were wafted around the theatre ; the 
attendants sprinkled fresh sand over the arena. 

" Bring forth the lion and Glaucus the Athenian," said the 
sedile. 

And a deep breathless hush of over-wrought interest, and in- 
tense (yet, strange to say, not unpleasing) terror lay, like a mighty 
and awful dream over the assembly. 



CHAPTER III. 
SALLUST, AND NYDIA'S LETTER. 

'T^HRICE had Sallust wakened from his morning sleep, and 

J. thrice, recollecting that his friend was that day to perish, 

had he turned himself with a deep sigh once more to court ob- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 331 

livion. His sole object in life was to avoid pain ; and where he 
could not avoid at least to forget it. 

At length, unable any longer to steep his consciousness in slum- 
ber, he raised himself from his incumbent posture, and discovered 
his favourite freedman sitting by his bed-side as usual ; for Sal- 
lust, who, as I have said, had a gentlemanlike taste for the polite 
letters, was accustomed to be read to for an hour or so previous 
to his rising in the morning. 

" No books to-day! no more Tibullus ! no more Pindar for me! 
Pindar! alas, alas! the very name recalls those games to which our 
arena is the savage successor. Has it begun the amphitheatre? 
are its rites commenced?" 

" Long since, O Sallust! Did you not hear the trumpets and 
the trampling feet?" 

"Ay, ay; but, the gods be thanked, I was drowsy, and had 
only to turn round to fall asleep again." 

" The gladiators must have been long in the ring." 

' ' The wretches ! none of my people have gone to the spec- 
tacle?" 

" Assuredly not ; your orders were too strict." 

" That is well ; would the day were over ! What is that letter 
yonder on the table ?" 

"That! Oh, the letter brought to you last night when you 
were too too " 

" Drunk to read it, I suppose. No matter; it cannot be of 
much importance." 

" Shall I open it for you, Sallust?" 

" Do ; anything to divert my thoughts. Poor Glaucus !" 

The freedman opened the letter. " What! Greek?" said he ; 
" some learned lady, I suppose." He glanced over the letter, and 
his countenance exhibited sudden emotion and surprise. ' ' Good 
gods ! noble Sallust ! what have we done, not to attend to this 
before ? Hear me read : 

" ' Nydia, the slave, to Sallust the friend of Glaucus. I am a 
prisoner in the house of Arbaces ! Hasten to the praetor ! pro- 
cure my release, and we shall yet save Glaucus from the lion ! 
There is another prisoner within these walls whose witness can 
exonerate the Athenian from the charge against him ; one who 
saw the crime ; who can prove the criminal in a villain hitherto 
unsuspected. Fly ! hasten ! quick ! quick ! Bring with you armed 
men, lest resistance be made; and a cunning and dexterous 
smith ; for the dungeon-door of my fellow-prisoner is thick and 
strong. Oh ! by thy right hand and thy father's ashes, lose not 
a moment!" 

"Great Jove!" exclaimed Sallust, starting, ' and this day nay, 



332 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

within this hour, perhaps he dies. What is to be done? I will 
instantly to the praetor." 

"Nay; not so. The praetor as well as Pansa the editor 
himself is the creature of the mob ; and the mob will not hear 
of delay ; they will not be balked in the very moment of expec- 
tation. Besides, the publicity of the appeal would forewarn 
the cunning Egyptian. It is evident that he has some interest 
in these concealments. No ; fortunately thy slaves are in thy 
house." 

" I seize thy meaning," interrupted Sallust ; " arm the slaves 
instantly. The streets are empty. We will ourselves hasten to 
the house of Arbaces, and release the prisoners. Quick ! quick ! 
What ho ! Davus there I My gown and sandals, the papyrus 
and a reed.* I will write to the praetor to beseech him to delay 
the sentence of Glaucus, for that, within an hour, we may yet 
prove him innocent. So, so ; that is well. Hasten with this, 
Davus, to the praetor at the amphitheatre. See it given to his 
own hand. Now, then, O, ye gods! whose providence Epicurus 
denied, befriend me, and I will call Epicurus a liar !' 

CHAPTER IV. 
THE AMPHITHEATRE ONCE MORE. 

C* LAUCUS and Olinthus had been placed together in that 
\J gloomy and narrow cell in which the criminals of the arena 
awaited their last and fearful struggle. Their eyes, of late ac- 
customed to the darkness, scanned the faces of each other in this 
awful hour ; and by that dim light, the paleness, which chased 
away the natural hues from either cheek, assumed a yet more 
ashen and ghastly whiteness. Yet their brows were erect and 
dauntless ; their limbs did not tremble ; their lips were compressed 
and rigid. The religion of the one, the pride of the other, the 
conscious innocence of both, and, it may be, the support derived 
from their mutual companionship, elevated the victim into the 
hero! 

"Hark! hearest thou that shout? They are growling over 
their human blood," said Olinthus. 

" I hear ; my heart grows sick ; but the gods support me." 
" The gods ! O, rash young man ! in this hour recognise only 
the One God. Have I not taught thee in the dungeon, wept for 
thee, prayed for thee ? In my zeal and in my agony, have I not 
thought more of thy salvation than my own ? 

The reed (calamus) was used for writing on papyrus and parchment; 
the stilus for writing on waxen tablets, plates of metal, &o. Letters were 
written sometimes on tablets, sometimes on papyrus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 333 

"Brave friend ! " answered Glaucus, solemnly, " I have listened 
to thee with awe, with wonder, and with a secret tendency to- 
wards conviction. Had our lives been spared, I might gradually 
have weaned myself from the tenets of my own faith, and in- 
clined to thine ; but, in this last hour, it were a craven thing, 
and a base, to yield to hasty terror what should only be the result 
of lengthened meditation. Were I to embrace thy creed, and 
cast down my father's gods, should I not be bribed by thy pro- 
mise of heaven, or awed by the threats of hell? Olinthus, no! 
Think we of each other with equal charity ; I honouring thy 
sincerity, thou pitying my blindness or my obdurate courage. 
As have been my deeds, such will be my reward ; and the 
Power or Powers above will not judge harshly of human error, 
when it is linked with honesty of purpose and truth of heart. 
Speak we no more of this. Hush ! Dost thou hear them drag 
yon heavy body through the passage ? Such as that clay will be 
ours soon." 

" O Heaven ! O Christ! already I behold ye!" cried the fer- 
vent Olinthus, lifting up bis hands, "I tremble not ; I rejoice 
that the prison house shall be soon broken. " 

Glaucus bowed his head in silence. He felt the distinction 
between his fortitnde and that of his fellow-sufferer, The heathen 
did not tremble ; but the Christian exulted. 

The door swung gratingly back ; the gleam of spears shot 
along the walls. 

" Glaucus the Athenian, thy time has come," said a loud and 
clear voice; "the lion awaits thee." 

" I am ready," said the Athenian. " Brother and co-mate, one 
last embrace! Bless me ; and farewell!" 

The Christian opened his arms ; he clasped the young heathen 
to his breast ; he kissed his forehead and cheek ; he sobbed 
aloud ; his tears flowed fast and hot over the features of his 
friend. 

" O ! could I have converted thee, I had not wept. O ! that 
I might say to thee, 'We two shall sup this night in Paradise !'" 

" It may be so yet,'' answered the Greek, with a tremulous 
voice. ' ' They whom death parted not, may meet yet beyond 
the grave. On the earth on the beautiful, the beloved earth 
farewell for ever ! Worthy officer, I am ready." 

Glaucus tore himself away ; and when he came forth into the 
air, its breath, which, though sunless, was hot and arid, smote 
witheringly upon hhn. His frame, not yet restored from the 
effects of the deadly draught, shrank and trembled. The officers 
supported him. 

"Courage!" said one; "thou art young, active, well-knit. 



334 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

They give thee a weapon ! despair not, and thou mayest yet 
conquer !" 

Glaucus did not reply ; but, ashamed of his infirmity, he made 
a desperate and convulsive effort, and regained the firmness of his 
nerves. They anointed his body, completely naked, save by a 
cincture round the loins, placed the stilus vain weapon ! in his 
hand, and led him into the arena. 

And now, when the Greek saw the eyes of thousands and tens 
of thousands upon him, he no longer felt that he was mortal. 
All evidence of fear all fear itself was gone. A red and 
haughty flush spread over the paleness of his features he tower- 
ed aloft to the full of his glorious stature. In the elastic beauty 
of his limbs and form ; in his intent but unfrowning brow ; in 
the high disdain, and in the indomitable soul, which breathed 
visibly which spake audibly from his attitude, his lip, his eye ; 
he seemed the very incarnation, vivid and corporeal, of the valour 
of his land of the divinity of its worship at once a hero and a 
god! 

The murmur of hatred and horror at his crime, which had 
greeted his entrance, died -into the silence of involuntary admira- 
tion and half-compassionate respect ; and, with a quick and con- 
vulsive sigh, that seemed to move the whole -mass of life as if 
it were it body, the gaze of the spectators turned from the 
Athenian to a dark uncouth object in the centre of the arena. It 
was the grated den of the lion ! 

" By Venus, how warm it is !" said Fulvia ; "yet there is no 
sun. Would those stupid sailors* could have fastened up that 
gap in the awning." 

"Oh ! it is warm, indeed. I turn sick I faint 1" said the wife 
of Pansa ; even her experienced stoicism giving way at the strug- 
gle about to take place." 

The lion had been kept without food for twenty-four hours, 
and the animal had, during the whole morning, testified a singu- 
lar and restless uneasiness, which the keeper had attributed to 
the pangs of hunger. Yet its bearing seemed rather that of fear 
than of rage ; its roar was painful and distressed ; i> hung its 
head snuffed the air through the bars, then lay down, started 
again and again uttered its wide and far-resounding cries. And 
now, in its den, it lay utterly dumb and mute, with distending 
nostrils forced hard against the grating, and disturbing, with a 
heaving breath, the sand below the arena. 

The editor's lip quivered, and his cheek grew pale ; he looked 
anxiously around hesitated, delayed ; the crowd became impa- 

Sailors were generally employed in fastening the velaria of the amphi- 
theatre. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 335 

tient. Slowly he gave the sign ; the keeper who was behind the 
den, cautiously removed the grating, and the lion leapt forth with 
a mighty and glad roar of release. The keeper hastily retreated 
through the grated passage leading from the arena, and left the 
lord of the forest and his prey. 

Glaucus had bent his limbs so as to give himself the firmest 
posture at the expected rush of the lion, and his small and 
shining weapon raised on high, in the faint hope that one 
well-directed thrust for he knew that he should have time but 
for one might penetrate through the eye to the brain of his 
grim foe. 

But, to the unutterable astonishment of all, the beast seemed 
not even aware of the presence of the criminal. At the first mo- 
ment of its release it halted abruptly in the arena, raised itself 
half on end, snuffing the upsvard air with impatient sighs ; then 
suddenly it sprang forward, but not on the Athenian. At half- 
speed it circled round and round the space, turning its vast head 
from side to side with an anxious and perturbed gaze, as if seek- 
ing only some avenue of escape ; once or twice it endeavoured to 
leap up the parapet that divided it from the audience, and on 
failing, uttered rather a baffled howl than its deep-toned and 
kingly roar. It evinced no sign either of wrath or hunger ; its 
tail drooped along the sand instead of lashing its gaunt sides ; 
and its eye, though it wandered at times to Glaucus, rolled again 
listlessly from him. At length, as if tired of attempting to 
escape, it crept with a moan into its cage, and once more laid 
itself down to rest. 

The first surprise of the assembly at the apathy of the lion soon 
grew converted into resentment at its cowardice, and the populace 
already merged their pity for the fate of Glaucus into angry com- 
passion for their own disappointment. 

The editor called to the keeper, 

1 ' How is this ? Take the goad, prick him forth, and then 
close the door of the den." 

As the keeper, with some fear, but more astonishment, was 
preparing to obey, a loud cry was heard at one of the entrances 
of the arena ; there was a confusion, a bustle voices of remon- 
strance suddenly silenced at the reply. All eyes turned, in 
wonder at the interruption, towards the quarter of the disturbance 
the crowd gave way, and suddenly Sallust appeared on the 
Senatorial benches his hair dishevelled, breathless, heated, half 
exhausted. He cast his eyes hastily around the ring. ' Remove 
the Athenian!" he cried ; "haste he is innocent ! Arrest Arbaces 
the Egyptian HE is the murderer of Apaecides !" 



336 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"Art thou mad, O Sallust!" said the praetor, rising from his 
seat. ' ' What means this raving ?" 

" Remove the Athenian ! Quick ! or his blood be on your head. 
Praetor, delay, and you answer with your own life to the emperor. 
I bring with me the eye-witness to the death of the priest Apae- 
cides. Room there ! stand back ! give way ! People of Pompeii, 
fix every eye upon Arbaces there he sits ! Room there for the 
priest Calenus!" 

Pale, haggard, fresh from the jaws of famine and of death his 
face fallen, his eyes dull as a vulture's, his broad frame gaunt as 
a skeleton Calenus was supported into the very row in which 
Arbaces sat. His releasers had given him sparingly of food ; 
but the chief sustenance that nerved his feeble limbs was re- 
venge ! 

" The priest Calenus ! Calenus !" cried the mob. " Is it he ? 
No it is a dead man !" 

" It is the priest Calenus," said the praetor, gravely. " What 
hast thou to say?" 

' ' Arbaces of Egypt is the murderer of Apaecides the priest of 
Isis ; these eyes saw him deal the blow. It is from the dungeon 
in which he plunged me it is from the darkness and horror of a 
death by famine that the gods have raised me to proclaim his 
crime ! Release the Athenian he is innocent !" 

"It is for this, then, that the lion spared him. A miracle! a 
miracle !" cried Pansa. 

"A miracle ! a miracle!" shouted the people. " Remove the 
Athenian Arbaces to the lionf" 

And that shout echoed from hill to vale from coast to sea 
"Arbaces to the lion !" 

' ' Officers, remove the accused Glaucus remove, but guard 
him yet," said the praetor. "The gods lavish their wonders upon 
this day." 

As the praetor gave the word of release, there was a cry of joy 
a female voice a child's voice and it was of joy | It rang 
through the heart of the assembly with electric force it was touch- 
ing it was holy that child's voice. And the populace echoed 
it back with a sympathising gratulation. 

" Silence !" said the grave praetor " who is there?" 

"The blind girl Nydta," answered Sallust; "it is her hand 
that has raised Calenus from the grave and delivered Glaucus 
from the lion." 

" Of this hereafter," said the praetor. " Calenus, priest of Isis, 
thou accusest Arbaces of the murder of Apaecides ?" 

"I do." 

Thou didst behold the deed?" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 337 



" Praetor with these eyes- 



" Enough at present the details must be reserved for more 
suiting time and place. Arbaces of Egypt, thou nearest the 
charge against thee thou hast not yet spoken what hast thou 
to say?" 

The gaze of the crowd had been long riveted on Arbaces ; but 
not until the confusion which he had betrayed at the first 
charge of Sallust and the entrance of Calenus had subsided. 
At the shout "Arbaces to the lion !" he had indeed trembled, 
and the dark bronze of his cheek had taken a paler hue. But he 
had soon recovered his haughtiness and self-control. Proudly he 
returned the angry glare of the countless eyes around him ; and 
replying now to the question of the praetor, he said, in that ac- 
cent, so peculiarly tranquil and commanding, which characterised 
his tones, 

" Praetor, this charge is so mad that it scarcely deserves reply. 
My first accuser is the noble Sallust the most intimate friend of 
Glaucus ! my second a priest ; I revere his garb and calling but, 
people of Pompeii, ye know somewhat of the character of Calenus 
he is griping and gold-thirsty to a proverb ; the witness of such 
men is to be bought : praetor, I am innocent." 

"Sallust," said the magistrate, "where found you Calenus?'' 

" In the dungeon of Arbaces." 

"Egyptian," said the praetor frowning, "thou didst, then, dare 
to imprison a priest of the gods and wherefore?" 

" Hear me," answered Arbaces, rising calmly, but with agita- 
tion visible in his face : ' ' this man came to threaten that he would 
make against me the charge he has now made, unless I would 
purchase his silence with half my fortune : I remonstrated in 
vain. Peace, there let not the priest interrupt me. Noble 
praetor and ye, O people ! I was a stranger in the land I 
knew myself innocent of crime ; but the witness of a priest 
against me might yet destroy me. In my perplexity I decoyed 
him to the cell whence he has been released, on pretence that it 
was the coffer house of my gold. I resolved to detain him there 
until the fate of the true criminal was sealed, and his threats 
could avail no longer ; but I meant no worse. I may have 
erred but who amongst ye will not acknowledge the equity of 
self-preservation? Were I guilty, why was the witness of this 
priest silent at the trial ? then I had not detained nor concealed 
him. Why did he not proclaim my guilt when I proclaimed that 
of Glaucus ? Praetor, this needs an answer. For the rest, I throw 
myself on your laws. I demand their protection. Remove hence 
the accused and the accuser. I will willingly meet, and cheerfully 

V 



338 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

abide by the decision of the legitimate tribunal. This is no place 
for further parley." 

"He says right," said the praetor. "Ho! guards remove 
Arbaces guard Calenus ! Sallust, we hold you responsible for 
your accusation. Let the sports be resumed." 

" What!" cried Calenus, turning round to the people, "shall 
Isis be thus contemned ? Shall the blood of Apaecides yet cry for 
vengeance ? Shall justice be delayed now, that it may be frus- 
trated hereafter ? Shall the lion be cheated of his lawful prey ? 
A god a god ! I feel the god rush to my lips ! To the lion to 
the lion with Arbaces /" 

His exhausted frame could support no longer the ferocious 
malice of the priest ; he sank on the ground in strong convul- 
sions the foam gathered to his mouth he was as a man, in- 
deed, whom a supernatural power had entered ! The people saw 
and shuddered. 

" It is a god that inspires the holy man to the lion -with the 
Egyptian /" 

With that cry up sprang on moved thousands upon thou- 
sands ! They rushed from the heights they poured down in 
the direction of the Egyptian. In vain did the aedile command 
in vain did the praetor lift his voice and proclaim the law. The 
people had been already rendered savage by the exhibition of 
blood they thirsted for more their superstition was aided by 
their ferocity. Aroused inflamed by the spectacle of their vic- 
tims, they forgot the authority of their rulers. It was one of 
those dread popular convulsions common to crowds wholly ig- 
norant, half free and half servile ; and which the peculiar con- 
stitution of the Roman provinces so frequently exhibited. The 
power of the praetor was as a reed beneath the whirlwind ; still, 
at his word, the guards had drawn themselves along the lower 
benches, on which the upper classes sat separate from the vulgar. 
They made but a feeble barrier the waves of the human sea 
halted for a moment, to enable Arbaces to count the exact mo- 
ment of his doom ! In despair, and in a terror which beat down 
even pride, he glanced his eye over the rolling and rushing 
crowd when, right above them, through the wide chasm which 
had been left in the velaria, he beheld a strange and awful 
apparition he beheld and his craft restored his courage. 

He stretched his hand on high ; over his lofty brow and royal 
features there came an expression of unutterable solemnity and 
command. 

" Behold !" he shouted with a voice of thunder, which stilled 
the roar of the crowd ; "behold how the gods protect the guilt- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 339 

less ! The fires of the avenging orcus burst forth against the 
false witness of my accusers." 

The eyes of the crowd followed the gesture of the Egyptian, 
and beheld, with ineffable dismay, a vast vapour shooting from 
the summit of Vesuvius, in the form ot a gigantic pine-tree ;* the 
the trunk, blackness the branches, fire ; a fire that shifted and 
wavered in its hues with every moment, now fiercely luminous, 
now of a dull and dying red, that again blazed terrifically forth 
with intolerable glare ! 

There was a dead, heart-sunken silence, through which there 
suddenly broke the roar of the lion, which, from within the build- 
ing, was echoed back by the sharper and fiercer yells of its fellow 
beast. Dread seers were they of the Burden of the Atmosphere, 
and wild prophets of the wrath to come. 

Then there rose on high the universal shrieks of women ; the 
men stared at each other, but were dumb. At that moment they 
felt the earth shake beneath their feet ; the walls of the theatre 
trembled ; and beyond, in the distance, they heard the crash of 
falling roofs ; an instant more, and the mountain cloud seemed 
rolling towards them, dark and rapid, like a torrent: at the same 
time, it cast forth from its bosom a shower of ashes mixed with 
vast fragments of burning stone. Over the crushing vines over 
the desolate streets over the amphitheatre itself far and wide, 
with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea, fell that awful 
shower ! 

No longer thought the crowd of justice or of Arbaces ; safety 
for themselves was their sole thought. Each turned to fly ; each 
dashing, pressing, crushing, against the other. Trampling reck- 
lessly over the fallen, amidst groans, and oaths, and prayers, and 
sudden shrieks, the enormous crowd vomited itself forth through 
the numerous passages. Whither should they fly ? Some, antici- 
pating a second earthquake, hastened to their homes to load 
themselves with their more costly goods, and escape while it was 
yet time ! Others, dreading the showers of ashes that now fell 
fast, torrent upon torrent, over the streets, rushed under the 
roofs of the nearest houses, or temples, or sheds shelter of any 
kind for protection from the terrors of the open air. But darker, 
and larger, and mightier, spread the cloud above them. It was 
a sudden and more ghastly Night rushing upon the realm of 
Noon ! 

* Pliny. 



340 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 
CHAPTER V. 

THE CELL OF THE PRISONER AND THE DEN OF THE DEAD. 
GRIEF UNCONSCIOUS OF HORROR. 

STUNNED by his reprieve, doubting that he was awake, 
Glaucus had been led by the officers of the arena into a 
small cell within the walls of the theatre. They threw a loose 
robe over his form, and crowded round in congratulation and 
wonder. There was an impatient and fretful cry without the cell, 
the throng gave way, and the blind girl, led by some gentler 
hand, flung herself at the feet of Glaucus. 

"It is / who have saved thee," she sobbed; "now let me 
die!" 

" Nydia, my child ! my preserver !" 

" O, let me feel thy touch thy breath ! Yes, yes, thou livest ! 
We are not too late ! That dread door ; methought it would 
never yield. And Calenus oh ! his voice was as the dying wind 
among tombs ; we had to wait gods ! it seemed hours, ere food 
and wine restored to him something of strength ; but thou livest 
thou livest yet. And I / have saved thee." 

This affecting scene was soon interrupted by the event just 
described. 

" The mountain ! the earthquake !" resounded from side to side. 
The officers fled with the rest ; they left Glaucus and Nydia to 
save themselves as they might. 

As the sense of the danger around them flashed on the 
Athenian, his generous heart recurred to Olinthus. He, too, 
was reprieved from the tiger by the hands of the gods ; should 
he be left to a no less fatal death in the neighbouring cell? Tak- 
ing Nydia by the hand, Glaucus hurried across the passages ; he 
gained the den of the Christian. He found Olinthus kneeling and 
in prayer. 

" Arise ! arise! my friend," he cried. " Save thyself, and fly! 
See, Nature is thy dread deliverer." He led forth the bewildered 
Christian, and pointed to the cloud which advanced darker and 
darker, disgorging forth showers of ashes and pumice stones; and 
bade him harken to the cries and trampling rush of the scattered 
crowd. 

"This is the hand of God God be praised!" said Olinthus, 
devoutly. 

' ' Fly ! seek thy brethren ! Concert with them thy escape 1 
Farewell !" 

Olinthus did not answer, neither did he mark the retreating 
form of his friend. High thoughts and solemn absorbed his 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 341 

soul ; and in the enthusiasm of his kindling heart, .he exulted 
in the mercy of God rather than trembled at the evidence of His 
power. 

At length he roused himself, and hurried on, he scarce knew 
whither. 

The open doors of a dark desolate cell suddenly appeared on 
his path ; through the gloom within there flared and flickered a 
single lamp ; and by its light he saw three grim and naked forms 
stretched on the earth in death. His feet were suddenly arrested; 
for, amidst the terrors of that drear recess the spoliarium of the 
arena he heard a low voice calling on the name of Christ ! 

He could not resist lingering at that appeal ; he entered the 
den, and his feet were dabbled in the slow streams of blood that 
gushed from the corpses over the sand. 

" Who," said the Nazarene, " calls upon the Son of God." 

No answer came forth ; and, turning round, Olinthus beheld, 
by the light of the lamp, an old grey-headed man sitting on the 
floor, and supporting in his lap the head of one of the dead. 
The features of the dead man were firmly and rigidly locked in 
the last sleep ; but over the lip there played a fierce smile not 
the Christian's smile of hope but the dark sneer of hatred and 
defiance. Yet on the face still lingered the beautiful roundness 
of early youth. The hair curled thick and glossy over the un- 
wrinkled brow ; and the down of manhood but slightly shaded 
the marble of the hueless yet iron cheek. And over this face 
bent one of such unutterable sadness of such yearning tender- 
ness of such fond and such deep despair. The tears of the old 
man fell fast and hot, but he did not feel them ; and when his 
lips moved, and he mechanically uttered the prayer of his benign 
and hopeful faith, neither his heart nor his sense responded to the 
words : it was but the involuntary emotion that broke from the 
lethargy of his mind. His boy was dead, and had died for him. 
And the old man's heart was broken. 

" Medon," said Olinthus, pityingly, "arise and fly. God is 
forth upon the wings of the elements ; the New Gomorrah is 
doomed ! Fly, ere the fires consume thee ! '' 

" He was ever so full of life ! he cannot be dead ! Come hither 
place your hand on his heart sure it beats yet?" 

" Brother, the soul has fled ; we will remember it in our prayers. 
Tho canst not reanimate the dumb clay. Come, come. Hark ! 
while I speak, yon crushing walls ! hark ! yon agonising cries ! 
Not a moment is to be lost come !" 

" I hear nothing," said Medon, shaking his grey hair. " The 
poor boy, his love murdered him." 

" Come, come ; forgive this friendly force." 



342 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"What! Who would sever the father from the son?" and 
Medon clasped the body tightly in his embrace, and covered it 
with passionate kisses. "Go!" said he, lifting up his face for 
one moment. "Go! we must be alone." 

"Alas!" said the compassionate Nazarene, "death hath sever- 
ed ye already ! " 

The old man smiled very calmly. " No, no, no!" he muttered, 
his voice growing lower with each word ; ' ' death has been more 
kind." 

With that his head dropped on his son's breast his arms re- 
laxed their grasp. Olinthus caught him by the hand the pulse 
had ceased to beat ! The last words of the father were the words 
of truth, Death had been more kind ! 

Meanwhile Glaucus and Nydia were pacing swiftly up the 
perilous and fearful streets. The Athenian had learnt from his 
preserver that lone was yet in the house of Arbaces. Thither 
he fled, to release to save her. The few slaves that the Egyp- 
tian had left at his mansion when he had repaired in long pro- 
cession to the amphitheatre, had been able to offer no resistance 
to the armed band of Sallust ; and when afterwards the volcano 
broke forth, they had huddled together, stunned and frightened, 
in the inmost recesses of the house. Even the tall Ethiopian 
had forsaken his post at the door ; and Glaucus (who left Nydia 
without the poor Nydia, jealous once more, even in such an 
hour) passed on through the vast hall, without meeting one from 
whom to learn the chamber of lone. Even as he passed, how- 
ever, the darkness that covered the heavens increased so rapidly 
that it was with difficulty he could guide his steps. The flower- 
wreathed columns seemed to reel and tremble ; and with every 
instant he heard the ashes fall cranchingly into the roofless peri- 
style. He ascended to the upper rooms, breathless he paced 
along, shouting out aloud the name of lone ; and at length he 
heard, at the end of a gallery, a voice her voice, in wondering 
reply! To rush forward to shatter the door to seize lone in 
his arms to hurry from the mansion seemed to him the work 
of an instant. Scarce had he gained the spot where Nydia was, 
than he heard steps advancing towards the house, and recog- 
nised the voice of Arbaces, who had returned to seek his wealth 
and lone, ere he fled from the doomed Pompeii. But so dense 
was already the reeking atmosphere, that the foes saw not 
each other, though so near save that, dimly in the gloom, 
Glaucus caught the moving outline of the snowy robes of the 
Egyptian. 

They hastened onward those three. Alas! whither? They 
now saw not a step before them the blackness became utter. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 343 

They were encompassed with doubt and horror ; and the death 
he had escaped seemed to Glaucus only to have changed its form 
and augmented its victims. 



CHAPTER VI. 

CALENUS AND BURBO. DIOMED AND CLODIUS. THE GIRL OF 
THE AMPHITHEATRE AND JULIA. 

T^HE sudden catastrophe which had, as it were, riven the very 
1 bonds of society, and left prisoner and gaolor alike free, had 
soon rid Calenus of the guards to whose care the praetor had 
consigned him. And when the darkness and the crowd separated 
the priest from his attendants, he hastened, with trembling steps, 
towards the temple of his goddess. As he crept along, and ere 
the darkness was complete, he felt himself suddenly caught by the 
robe, and a voice muttered in his ear 

" Hist ! Calenus ; an awful hour ! " 

" Ay ! by my father's head ! Who art thou ? thy face is dim, 
and thy voice is strange." 

" Not know thy Burbo ? fie ! " 

" Gods ! how the darkness gathers ! Ho, ho ! by yon terrific 
mountain, what sudden blazes of lightning !* How they dart and 
quiver. Hades is loosed on earth !" 

" Tush ! thou believest not these things, Calenus. Now is the 
time to make our fortune." 

"Ha!" 

" Listen : thy temple is full of gold and precious mummeries 
let us load ourselves with them and then hasten to the sea 
and embark. None will ever ask an account of the doings of this 
day." 

' ' Burbo, thou art right. Hush ! and follow me into the tem- 
ple. Who cares now who sees now whether thou art priest or 
not? Follow and we will share 1" 

In the precincts of the temple were many priests gathered 
around the altars, praying, weeping, grovelling in the dust. Im- 
postors in safety, they were not the less superstitious in danger. 
Calenus passed them, and entered the chamber yet to be seen in 
the south side of the court. Burbo followed him the priest 
struck a light. Wine and viands strewed the table, the remains 
of a sacrificial feast. 

"A man who has hungered forty-eight hours," muttered Cale- 

' Volcanic lightnings. The phenomena were especially the characteristic 
of the long subsequent eruption of 1779, and their evidence is visible in the 
tokens of that more awful one, now so imperfectly described 



344 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

nus, " has an appetite even in such a time." He seized on the 
food, and devoured it greedily. Nothing could, perhaps, be more 
unnaturally horrid than the selfish baseness of these villains ; for 
there is nothing more loathsome than the valour of avarice. 
Plunder and sacrilege, while the pillars of the world tottered to 
and fro. What an increase to the terrors of nature can be made 
by the vices of man. 

"Wilt thou never have done?" said Burbo, impatiently; "thy 
face purples, and thine eyes start already." 

" It is not every day one has such a right to be hungry. O, 
Jupiter ! what sound is that? the hissing of fiery water ! What ! 
does the cloud give rain as flame ! Ha ! what ! shrieks ? And, 
Burbo, how silent all his now ! Look forth !" 

Amidst the other horrors, the mighty mountain now cast up 
columns of boiling water. Blent and kneaded with the half- 
burning ashes, the streams fell like seething mud over the streets 
in frequent intervals. And full where the priests of Isis had 
now cowered around the altars, on which they had vainly sought 
to kindle fires and burn incense, one of the fiercest of those 
deadly torrents, mingled with immense fragments of scoria, had 
poured its rage over the bended forms of the priests it dashed : 
that cry had been of death that silence had been of eternity. 
The ashes the pitchy stream sprinkled the altars, covered 
the pavement, and half-concealed the quivering corpses of the 
priests. 

"They are dead," said Burbo, terrified for the first time, and 
hurrying back into the cell; " I thought not the danger was so 
near and fatal." 

The two wretches stood staring at each other ; you might have 
heard their hearts beat. Calenus, the less bold by nature, but the 
more griping, recovered first. 

" We must to our task and away," he said, in a low whisper, 
frightened at his own voice. He stepped to the threshold, paused, 
crossed over the heated floor and his dead brethren to the sacred 
chapel, and called to Burbo to follow. But the gladiator quaked 
and drew back. 

"So much the better," thought Calenus; "the more will be 
my booty."" Hastily he loaded himself with the more portable 
treasures of the temple ; and thinking no more of his comrade, 
hurried from the sacred place. A sudden flash of lightning 
from the mount showed to Burbo, who stood motionless at the 
threshold, the flying and laden form of the priest. He took 
heart ; he stepped forth to join him, when a tremendous shower 
of ashes fell right before his feet. The gladiator shrank back 
once more. Darkness closed him in. But the shower con- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 345 

tinued fast fast ; its heaps rose high and suffocatingly deathly 
vapours steamed from them. The wretch gasped for breath ; he 
sought in despair again to fly ; the ashes had blocked up the 
threshold ; he shrieked as his feet fell from the boiling fluid. 
How could he escape? He could not climb to the open space 
nay, were he able, he could not brave its horrors. It were best 
to remain in the cell, protected, at least from the fatal air. He 
sat down and clenched his teeth. By degrees, the atmosphere 
from without stifling and venomous crept into the chamber. 
He could endure it no longer. His eyes glaring round, rested on 
a sacrificial axe which some priest had left in the chamber : he 
seized it. With the desperate strength of his gigantic arm, he 
attempted to hew his way through the walls. 

Meanwhile, the streets were already thinned ; the crowd had 
hastened to disperse itself under shelter ; the ashes began to fill 
up the lower parts of the town ; but, here and there, you heard 
the steps of fugitives cranching them wearily, or saw their pale and 
haggard faces by the blue glare of the lightning, or the more un- 
steady glare of torches, by which they endeavoured to steer their 
steps. But ever and anon the boiling water, the straggling ashes, 
or mysterious and gusty winds rising and dying in a breath, ex- 
tinguished these wandering lights, and with them the last living 
hope of those who bore them. 

In the street that leads to the gate of Herculaneum, Clodius 
now bent his perplexed and doubtful way. " If I can gain the 
open country," thought he, "doubtless there will be various 
vehicles beyond the gate, and Herculaneum is not far distant. 
Thank Mercury ! I have little to lose, and that little is about me." 
"Holloa ! help there help !" cried a querulous and frighten- 
ed voice. ' ' I have fallen down my torch is gone out my slaves 
have deserted me. I am Diomed the rich Diomed ten thousand 
sesterces to him who helps me !" 

At that same moment Clodius felt himself caught by the feet. 
" 111 fortune to thee ; let me go, fool !" said the gambler. 

' O, help me up give me thy hand '" 

'There rise." 

1 Is this Clodius ? I know the voice ! Whither fliest thou ? " 

'Towards Herculaneum." 

' Blessed be the gods ! our way is the same, then, as far as the 
gate. Why not take refuge in my villa ? Thou knowest the long 
range of subterranean cellars beneath the basement that shelter, 
what shower can penetrate?" 

"You speak well," said Clodius, musingly; "and by storing 
the cellar with food, we can remain there even some days, should 
these wondrous storms endure so long." 



346 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Oh, blessed be he who invented gates to a city !" cried Dio- 
med. ' ' See, they have placed a light within yon arch ; by that 
let us guide our steps." 

The air was now still for a few minutes ; the lamp from the 
gate streamed out far and clear: the fugitives hurried on. they 
gained the gate they passed by the Roman sentry ; the light- 
ning flashed over his livid face and polished helmet, but his stern 
features were composed even in their awe. He remained erect 
and motionless at his post. That hour itself had not animated 
the machine of the ruthless majesty of Rome into the reasoning 
and self-acting man. There he stood amidst the crashing ele- 
ments ; he had not received the permission to desert and escape.* 

Diomed and his companion hurried on, when suddenly a female 
form rushed athwart their way. It was the girl whose ominous 
voice had been raised so often and so gladly in anticipation of 
" the merry show." 

"Oh, Diomed!" she cried, "shelter shelter! See" point- 
ing to an infant clasped to her breast "see this little one 
it is mine the child of shame! I have never owned it till 
this hour ! But now I remember I am a mother ! I have 
plucked it from the cradle of its nurse : she had fled. Who 
could think of the babe in such an hour but she who bore it. 
Save it save it ! " 

" Curses on thy shrill voice ! Away, harlot!" muttered Clodius, 
between his ground teeth. 

" Nay, girl," said the more humane Diomed ; "follow if thou 
wilt. This way this way to the vaults." 

They hurried on they arrived at the house of Diomed they 
laughed aloud as they crossed the threshold, for they deemed the 
danger over. 

Diomed ordered his slaves to carry down into the subterranean 
gallery, before described, a profusion of food, and oil for lights ; 
and there Julia, Clodius, the mother and her babe, the greater 
part of the slaves, and some frightened visitors and clients of the 
neighbourhood sought their shelter. 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE PROGRESS OF THE DESTRUCTION. 

THE cloud which had scattered so deep a murkiness over the 
day had now settled into a solid and impenetrable mass. 
It resembled less even the thickest gloom of a night in the open 

* The skeletons of more than one sentry were found at their posts. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 347 

air than the close and blind darkness of some narrow room.* 
But, in proportion as the blackness gathered, did the lightnings 
around Vesuvius increase in their vivid and scorching glare. 
Nor was their horrible beauty confined to the usual hues of fire ; 
no rainbow ever rivalled their varying and prodigal dyes. Now 
brightly blue as the most azure depth of a southern sky ; now 
of a livid and snakelike green, darting restlessly to and fro as 
the folds tS an enormous serpent ; now of a lurid and intoler- 
able crimson, gushing forth through the columns of smoke far 
and wide, and lighting up the whole city from arch to arch 
then suddenly dying into a sickly paleness like the ghost of its 
own life ! 

In the pauses of the showers you heard the rumbling of the 
earth beneath and the groaning waves of the tortured sea ; or, 
lower still, and audible but to the watch of intensest fear, the 
grinding and hissing murmur of the escaping gases through the 
chasms of the distant mountain. Sometimes the cloud appeared 
to break from its solid mass, and, by the lightning, to assume 
quaint and vast mimicries of human or of monster shapes striding 
across the gloom, hurtling one upon the other, and vanishing 
swiftly into the turbulent abyss of shade, so that to the eyes and 
fancies of the affrighted wanderers the unsubstantial vapours were 
as the bodily forms of gigantic foes the agents of terror and of 
death.f 

The ashes in many places were already knee deep ; and the 
boiling showers which came from the steaming breath of the vol- 
cano forced their way into the houses, bearing with them a strong 
and suffocating vapour. In some places immense fragments of 
rock, hurled upon the house-roofs, bore down along the streets 
masses of confused ruin, which yet more and more with every 
hour obstructed the way ; and, as the day advanced, the motion 
of the earth was more sensibly felt ; the footing seemed to slide 
and creep ; nor could chariot or litter be kept steady, even on the 
most level ground. 

Sometimes the huger stones, striking against each other as 
they fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks of fire 
which caught whatever was combustible within their reach ; and 
along the plains beyond the city the darkness was now terribly 
relieved for several houses, and even vineyards, had been set on 
flames ; and at various intervals the fires rose sullenly and fierce- 
ly against the solid gloom. To add to this partial relief of the 
darkness the citizens had, here and there in the more public 



* Pliny. ! Dion Cassius, 



348 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

places, such as the porticoes of temples and the entrances to 
the forum, endeavoured to place rows of torches, but these 
rarely continued long ; the showers and the winds extinguished 
them, and the sudden darkness into which their sudden birth 
was converted had something in it doubly terrible and doubly 
impressing on the impotence of human hopes the lesson of 
despair. 

Frequently, by the momentary light of these torches, parties 
of fugitives encountered each other, some hurrying towards the 
sea, others flying from the sea back to the land, for the ocean 
had retreated rapidly from the shore ; an utter darkness lay over 
it, and upon its groaning and tossing waves the storm of cinders 
and rock fell without the protection which the streets and roofs 
afforded to the land. Wild, haggard, ghastly with supernatural 
fears, these groups encountered each other, but without the 
leisure to speak, to consult, to advise ; for the showers fell now 
frequently, though not continuously, extinguishing the lights 
which showed to each band the deathlike faces of the other, and 
hurrying all to seek refuge beneath the nearest shelter. The 
whole elements of civilisation were broken up. Ever and 
anon, by the flickering lights, you saw the thief hastening by 
the most solemn authorities of the law, laden with, and fear- 
fully chuckling over, the produce of his sudden gains. If in 
the darkness wife was separated from husband, or parent from 
child, vain was the hope of reunion. Each hurried blindly 
and confusedly on. Nothing in all the various and complicated 
machinery of social life was left save the primal law of self- 
preservation. 

Through this awful scene did the Athenian wade his way, 
accompanied by lone and the blind girl. Suddenly a rush of 
hundreds, in their path to the sea, swept by them. Nydia was 
torn from the side of Glaucus, who, with lone, was borne rapidly 
onward ; and when the crowd (whose forms they saw not, so 
thick was the gloom) were gone, Nydia was still separated from 
their side. Glaucus shouted her name, no answer came. They 
retraced their steps in vain ; they could not discover her. It 
was evident that she had been swept along some opposite direc- 
tion by the human current. Their friend, their preserver was 
lost ! And hitherto Nydia had been their guide. Her blindness 
rendered to her alone the scene familiar. Accustomed through a 
perpetual night to thread the windings of the city, she led them 
unerringly towards the sea-shore, by which they had resolved 
to hazard an escape. Now, which way could they wend all 
was rayless to them a maze without a clue. Wearied, despon- 
dent, bewildered, they, however, passed along, the ashes falling 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 349 

upon their heads, the fragmentary stones dashing up its sparkles 
before their feet. 

"Alas ! alas !" murmured lone, "I can go no farther ; my steps 
sink among the scorching cinders. Fly, dearest ! beloved, fly ! 
and leave me to my fate." 

" Hush, my betrothed my bride ! Death with thee is sweeter 
than life without thee, Yes, whither oh ! whither can we direct 
ourselves through the gloom ? Already it seems we have made 
but a circle, and are in the very spot which we quitied an hour 
ago," 

" O gods ! yon rock ; see, it hath riven the roof before us. It 
is death to move through the streets." 

" Blessed lightning t See, lone see! the portico of the Tem- 
ple of Fortune is before us. Let us creep beneath it ; it will pro- 
tect us from the showers." 

He caught his beloved in his arms, and with difficulty and 
labour gained the temple. He bore her to the remoter and 
more sheltered part of the portico, and leant over her, that he 
might shield her with his own form from the lightning and the 
showers. The beauty and the unselfishness of love could hallow 
even that dismal time. 

" Who is there?" said the trembling and hollow voice of one 
who had preceded them in their place of refuge. "Yet, what 
matters ; the crush of the ruined world forbids to us friends or 
foes." 

lone turned at the sound of the voice, and, with a faint shriek, 
cowered again beneath the amis of Glaucus ; and he, looking in 
the direction of the voice, beheld the cause of her alarm. Through 
the darkness glared forth two burning eyes the lightning flashed 
and lingered athwart the temple and Glaucus, with a shudder, 
perceived the lion to which he had been doomed couched beneath 
the pillars ; and, close beside it, unwitting of the vicinity, lay the 
giant form of him who had accosted them the wounded gladia- 
tor, Niger. 

That lightning had revealed to each other the form of beast 
and man ; yet the instinct of both was quelled. Nay, the 
lion crept nearer and nearer the gladiator, as for companion- 
ship ; and the gladiator did not recede or tremble. The revo- 
lution of Nature had dissolved her lighter terrors and her wonted 
ties. 

While they were thus terribly protected, a group of men and 
women, bearing torches, passed by the temple. They were of the 
congregation of the Nazarenes ; and a sublime and unearthly 



350 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

emotion had not, indeed, quelled their awe, but it robbed awe of 
fear. They had long believed, according to the error of the early 
Christians, that the Last Day was at hand ; they imagined now 
that the Day had come. 

" Woe ! woe !" cried, in a shrill and piercing voice the elder at 
their head. ' ' Behold ! the Lord descendeth to judgment ! He 
maketh fire come down from heaven in the sight of men ! Woe 1 
woe ! ye strong and mighty ! Woe to ye of the fasces and the 
purple ! Woe to the idolater and the worshipper of the beast ! 
Woe to ye who pour forth the blood of saints, and gloat over the 
death-pangs of the sons of God 1 Woe to the harlot of the sea 
woe! woe !" 

And with a loud and deep chorus, the troop chanted forth 
along the wild horrors of the air "Woe to the harlot of the 
sea ! woe ! woe !" 

The Nazarenes paced slowly on, their torches still flickering 
in the storm, their voices still raised in menace and solemn 
warning, till, lost amid the windings in the streets, the darkness 
of the atmosphere and the silence of death again fell over the 
scene. 

There was one of the frequent pauses in the showers, and 
Glaucus encouraged lone once more to proceed. Just as they 
stood hesitating, on the last step of the portico, an old man, with 
a bag in his right hand, and leaning upon a youth, tottered by. 
The youth bore a torch. Glaucus recognised the two as father 
and son miser and prodigal. 

" Father," said the youth, " if you cannot move more swiftly, I 
must leave you, or we both perish." 

" Fly, boy, then, and leave thy sire." 

" But I cannot fly to starve ; give me thy bag of gold." And 
the youth snatched at it. 

" Wretch! wouldst thou rob thy father?" 

"Ay ! who can tell the tale in this hour? Miser, perish !" 

The boy struck the old man to the ground, plucked the bag 
from his relaxing hand, and fled onward with a shrill yell. 

"Ye gods! "cried Glaucus; "are ye blind, then, even in the 
dark? Such crimes may well confound the guiltless with the 
guilty in one common ruin. lone, on on !" 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 351 
CHAPTER VIII. 

ARBACES ENCOUNTERS GLAUCUS AND IONE. 

A DVANCING, as men grope for escape in a dungeon, lone 
jf~l and her lover continued their uncertain way. At the mo- 
ments when the volcanic lightnings lingered over the streets, they 
were enabled by that awful light, to steer and guide their pro- 
gress ; yet, little did the view it presented to them cheer or en- 
courage their path. In parts where the ashes lay dry and un- 
commixed with the boiling torrents cast upwards from the 
mountain at capricious intervals, the surface of the earth pre- 
sented a leprous and ghastly white. In other places, cinder and 
rock lay matted in heaps, from beneath which might be seen the' 
half-hid limbs of some crushed and mangled fugitive. The 
groans of the dying were broken by wild shrieks of women's 
terror now near, now distant which, when heard in the utter 
darkness, were rendered doubly appalling by the crushing sense 
of helplessness and the uncertainty of the perils around ; and 
clear and distinct through all were the mighty and various 
noises from the Fatal Mountain ; its rushing winds ; its whirling 
torrents ; and, from time to time, the burst and roar of some 
more fiery and fierce explosion. And ever as the winds swept 
howling along the street, they bore sharp streams of burning 
dust, and such sickening and poisonous vapours, as to take 
away, for the instant, breath and consciousness, followed by a 
rapid revulsion of the arrested blood, and a tingling sensation of 
agony trembling through every nerve and fibre of the frame. 

"Oh, Glaucus, my beloved my own! take me to thy arms. 
One embrace let me feel thy arms around me and in that em- 
brace let me die I can no more !" 

' For my sake, for my life courage, yet sweet lone. My life 
is linked with thine ; and see torches this way. Lo ! how they 
brave the wind. Ha ! they live through the storm doubtless, 
fugitives to the sea we will join them." 

As if to inspire the lovers, the winds and showers came to a 
sudden pause ; the atmosphere was profoundly still ; the moun- 
tain seemed at rest, gathering, perhaps, fresh fury for its next 
burst: the torch-bearers moved quickly on. "We are nearing 
the sea," said, in a calm voice, the person at their head. " Liberty 
and wealth to each slave who survives this day. Courage ; I 
tell you that the gods themselves have assured me of deliverance. 
On!" 

Redly and steadily the torches flashed full on the eyes of Glau- 



352 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

cus and lone, who lay trembling and exhausted on his bosom. 
Several slaves were bearing, by the light, panniers and coffers, 
heavily laden ; in front of them a drawn sword in his hand 
towered the lofty form of Arbaces. 

" By my fathers," cried the Egyptian, " Fate smiles upon me 
even through these horrors, and, amidst the darkest aspects of 
woe and death, bodes me happiness and love. Away, Greek ; I 
claim my ward, lone." 

" Traitor and murderer !" cried Glaucus, glaring upon his foe ; 
" Nemesis hath guided thee to my revenge a just sacrifice to the 
shades of Hades, that now seemed loosed on earth. Approach 
touch but the hand of lone, and thy weapon shall be as a reed. 
I will tear thee limb from limb." 

Suddenly, as he spoke, the place became lighted with an intense 
and lurid glow. Bright and gigantic through the darkness which 
closed around it like the walls of hell, the mountain shone a pile 
of fire. Its summit seemed riven in two ; or rather, above its 
surface there seemed to rise two monster shapes, each confront- 
ing each, as Demons contending for a World. These were of 
one deep blood-red hue of fire, which lighted up the whole at- 
mosphere far and wide ; but below, the nether part of the moun- 
tain was still dark and shrouded, save in three places, adown 
which flowed, serpentine and irregular, rivers of the molten 
lava (A).* Darkly red through the profound gloom of their 
banks, they flowed slowly on, as towards the devoted city. Over 
the broadest there seemed to spring a cragged and stupendous 
arch, from which, as from the jaws of hell, gushed the sources 
of the sudden Phlegethon. And through the stilled air was 
heard the rattling of the fragments of rock, hurtling one upon 
another as they were borne down the fiery cataracts darken- 
ing, for one instant, the spot where they fell, and suffused, the 
next, in the burnished hues of the flood along which they 
floated. 

The slaves shrieked aloud, and, cowering, hid their faces. 
The Egyptian himself stood transfixed to the spot, the glow 
lighting up his commanding featur.es and jewelled robes. High 
behind him rose a tall column that supported the bronze statue 
of Augustus ; and the imperial image seemed changed to a shape 
of fire. 

With his left hand circled round the form of lone with his 
right arm raised in menace, and grasping the stilus which was to 
have been his weapon in the arena, and which he still fortunately 
bore about him with his brow knit his lips apart the wrath 

See note (h) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 353 

and menace of human passions arrested, as by a charm, upon his 
features, Glaucus fronted the Egyptian. 

Muttering to himself, Arbaces turned his eyes from the moun- 
tain they rested on the form of Glaucus. He paused a moment: 
"Why, "he muttered, "should I hesitate? Did not the stars 
foretell the only crisis of imminent peril to which I was subjected? 
Is not that peril past?" 

" The soul," cried he aloud, " can brave the wreck of worlds 
and the wrath of imaginary gods. By that soul will I conquer to 
the last. Advance, slaves ; Athenian, resist me, and thy blood 
be on thine own head. Thus, then, I regain lone." 

He advanced one step it was his last on earth. The ground 
shook beneath him with a convulsion that cast all around upon 
its surface. A simultaneous crash resounded through the city, 
as down toppled many a roof and pillar ; the lightning, as if 
caught by the metal, lingered an instant on the Imperial Statue 
then shivered bronze and column. Down fell the ruin, echo- 
ing along the street, and riving the solid pavement where it 
crashed. The prophecy of the stars was fulfilled. 

The sound the shock, stunned the Athenian for several 
moments. When he recovered, the light still illumined the 
scene ; the earth still slid and trembled beneath. lone lay 
senseless on the ground ; but he saw her not yet his eyes were 
fixed upon a ghastly face that seemed to emerge, without limbs 
or trunk, from the huge fragments of the shattered column a 
face of unutterable pain, agony, and despair. The eyes shut 
and opened rapidly, as if sense were not yet fled ; the lips 
quivered and grinned then sudden stillness and darkness fell 
over the features, yet retaining that aspect of horror never to be 
forgotten. 

So perished the wise Magian the great Arbaces the Hermes 
of the burning belt the last of the royalty of Egypt. 

CHAPTER IX. 

THE DESPAIR OF THE LOVERS. THE CONDITION OF THE 
MULTITUDE. 



turned in gratitude but in awe, caught lone once 
\J more in his arms, and fled along the, street, that was yet 
intensely luminous. But suddenly a duller shade fell over the air. 
Instinctively he turned to the mountain, and behold ! one of the 
two gigantic crests, into which the summit had been divided, 
rocked and wavered to and fro ; and then, with a sound the 

W 



354 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

mightiness of which no language can describe, it fell from its 
burning base, and rushed, an avalanche of fire, down the sides 
of the mountain. At the same instant gushed forth a volume of 
blackest smoke rolling on, over air, sea, and earth. 

Another and another and another shower of ashes, far more 
profuse than before, scattered fresh desolation along the streets. 
Darkness once more wrapt them as a veil ; and Glaucus, his bold 
heart at last quelled and despairing, sank beneath the cover of 
an arch, and, clasping lone to his heart a bride on the couch of 
ruin resigned himself to die. 

Meanwhile Nydia, when separated by the throng from Glau- 
cus and lone, had in vain endeavoured to regain them. In vain 
she raised that plaintive cry so peculiar to the blind ; it was last 
amidst a thousand shrieks of more selfish terror. Again and 
again she returned to the spot where they had been divided to 
find her companions gone, to seize every fugitive to inquire of 
Glaucus to be dashed aside in the impatience of distraction. 
Who in that hour spared one thought to his neighbour. Per- 
haps, in scenes of universal horror, nothing is more horrid than 
the unatural selfishness they engender. At length it occurred to 
Nydia, that, as it had been resolved to seek the seashore for 
escape, her most probable chance of rejoining her companions 
would be to persevere in that direction. Guiding her steps, then, 
by the staff which she always carried, she continued, with in- 
credible dexterity, to avoid the masses of ruin that encumbered 
the path to tread the streets and unerringly (so blessed now 
was that accustomed darkness so afflicting in ordinary life) to 
take the nearest direction to the sea-side. 

Poor girl! her courage was beautiful to behold and fate 
seemed to favour one so helpless. The boiling torrents touched 
her not, save by the general rain which accompanied them ; the 
huge fragments of scoria shivered the pavement before and be- 
side her, but spared that frail form ; and when the lesser ashes 
fell over her, she shook them away with a slight tremour,* and 
dauntlessly resumed her course. 

Weak, exposed, yet fearless supported but by one wish, she 
was a very emblem of Psyche in her wanderings of Hope, 
walking through the Valley of the Shadow of the Soul itself, 
lone but undaunted, amidst the dangers and the snares of life. 

Her path was, however, constantly impeded by the crowds 
that now groped amidst the gloom, now fled in the temporary 
glare of the lightnings across the scene ; and, at length, a group 

" A heavy shower of ashes rained upon us, which every now and then we 
were obliged to shake off, otherwise we should have been crushed and buried 
in the heap." PLINY. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 355 

of torch-bearers rushing full against her, she was thrown down 
with some violence. 

" What," said the voice of one of the party, " is this the brave 
blind girl? By Bacchus, she must not be left here to die ! Up, 
my Thessalian ! So so. Are you hurt ? That's well. Come 
on with us ; we are for the shore." 

" O Sallust ! it is thy voice ! The gods be thanked ! Glaucus ! 
Glaucus ! have ye seen him?" 

" Not I. He is doubtless out of the city by this time. The 
gods who saved him from the lion will save him from the burning 
mountain." 

As the kindly epicure thus encouraged Nydia, he drew her 
along with him towards the sea, heeding not her passionate en- 
treaties that he would linger yet awhile to search for Glaucus ; 
and still, in the accent of despair, she continued to shriek aloud 
that beloved name, while amidst all the roar of the convulsed 
elements, kept alive a music at her heart. 

The sudden illumination, the burst of the floods of lava, and 
earthquake, which we have already described, chanced when 
Sallust and his party had just gained the direct path leading from 
the city to the port ; and here they were arrested by an immense 
crowd, more than half the population of the city. They spread 
along the field without the walls, thousands upon thousands un- 
certain whither to fly. The sea had retired far from the shore ; 
and they who had fled to it had been so terrified by the agitation 
and preternatural shrinking of the element, the gasping forms of 
the uncouth sea things which the waves had left upon the sand, 
and by the sound of the huge stones cast from the mountain 
into the deep, that they had returned again to the land, as 
presenting the less frightful aspect of the two. Thus the two 
streams of human beings, the one seaward, the other from the 
sea, had met together, feeling a sad comfort in numbers ar- 
rested in despair and doubt. 

"The world is to be destroyed by fire," said an old man, in 
long loose robes, a philosopher of the Stoic school : " Stoic and 
Epicurean wisdom have alike agreed in this prediction ; and 
the hour is come !" 

" Yea ; the hour is come !" cried a loud voice, solemn but not 
fearful. 

Those around turned in dismay. The voice came from above 
them. It was the voice of Olinthus, who, surrounded by his 
Christian friends, stood upon an abrupt eminence on which the 
old Greek colonists had raised a temple to Apollo, now time- 
worn and half in ruin. 



356 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

As he spoke, there came that sudden illumination which had 
heralded the death of Arbaces, and glowing over that mighty 
multitude, awed, crouching, breathless never on earth had the 
faces of men seemed so haggard never had meeting of mortal 
beings been so stamped with the horror and sublimity of dread 
never, till the last trumpet sounds, shall such meeting be seen 
again. And above rose the form of Olinthus, with outstretched 
arm and prophet brow, girt with the living fires. And the crowd 
'knesv the face of him they had doomed to the fangs of the beast 
then their victim, now their warner ; and through the stillness 
again came his ominous voice 

"The hour is come I" 

The Christians repeated the cry. It was caught up it was 
echoed from side to side woman and man, childhood and old 
age, repeated, not aloud, but in a smothered and dreary murmur 
'THE HOUR is COME!" 

At that moment, a wild yell burst through the air ; and, 
thinking only of escape, whither it knew not, the terrible tiger of 
the desert leaped amongst the throng, and hurried through its 
parted streams. And so came the earthquake, and so darkness 
once more fell over the earth. 

And now new fugitives arrived. Grasping the treasures no 
longer destined for their lord, the slaves of Arbaces joined the 
throng. One only of all their torches yet flickered on. It was 
borne by Sosia ; and its light falling on the face of Nydia, he 
recognised the Thessalian. 

'What avails thy liberty now, blind girl?" said the slave. 
1 Who art thou ? Canst thou tell me of Glaucus ?" 
' Aye ! I saw him but a few minutes since." 
' Blessed be thy head ! where?" 

' Couched beneath the arch of the Forum dead, or dying ! 
gone to rejoin Arbaces who is no more." 

Nydia uttered not a word ; she slid from the side of Sallust ; 
silently she glided through those behind her, and retraced her 
steps to the city. She gained the Forum the arch ; she stooped 
down she felt around she called on the name of Glaucus. 

A week voice answered " Who calls on me? Is it the voice 
of the shades ! Lo, I am prepared !" 

" Arise ; follow me. Take my hand. Glaucus, thou shall be 
saved !" 

In wonder and sudden hope, Glaucus arose "Nydia still! 
Ah ! thou, then, art safe!" 

The tender joy of his voice pierced the heart of the poor Thes- 
salian, and she blessed him for his thought of her. 

Half leading, half carrying lone, Glaucus followed his guide. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 357 

With admirable discretion, she avoided the path which led to 
the crowd she had just quitted, and, by another route, sought 
the shore. 

After many pauses and incredible perseverance, they gained the 
sea, and joined a group, who, bolder than the rest, resolved to 
hazard any peril rather than continue in such a scene. In dark- 
ness they put forth to sea ; but, as they cleared the land and 
caught new aspects of the mountain, its channel of molten fire 
threw a partial redness over the waves. 

Utterly exhausted and worn out, lone slept on the breast of 
Glaucus, and Nydia lay at his feet. Meanwhile the showers of 
dust and ashes, still borne aloft, fell into the wave, and scattered 
their snows over the deck. Far and wide, borne by the winds, 
those showers descended upon the remotest climes, startling even 
the swarthy Africa ; and whirled along the antique soil of Syria 
and of Egypt.* 

CHAPTER X. 

THE NEXT MORNING. THE FATE OF NYDIA. 

AND meekly, softly, beautifully, dawned at last the light over 
the trembling deep ; the winds were sinking into rest the 
foam died from the glowing azure of that delicious sea. Around 
the east, thin mists caught gradually the rosy hues that heralded 
the morning ; light was about to resume her reign. Yet still, 
dark and massive in the distance, lay the broken fragments of 
the destroying cloud, from which red streaks, burning dimlier 
and more dim, betrayed the yet rolling fires of the montain of 
the " Scorched Fields." The white walls and gleaming columns 
that had adorned the lovely coast were no more. Sullen and 
dull were the shores so lately crested by the cities of Herculaneum 
and Pompeii. The darlings of the deep were snatched from her 
embrace. Century after century shall the mighty mother stretch 
forth her azure arms, and know them not moaning round the 
sepulchres of the Lost ! 

There was no shout from the mariners at the dawning light 
it had come too gradually, and they were too wearied for such 
sudden bursts of joy but there was a low, deep murmur of 
thankfulness amidst those watchers of the long night. They 
looked at each other and smiled ; they took heart ; they felt once 
more that there was a world around, and a God above them ! 
And in the feeling that the worst was past, the over-wearied ones 
turned round, and fell placidly to sleep. In the growing light of 

Dion Cassias. 



358 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the skies there came the silence which night had wanted ; and 
the barque drifted calmly onward to its port. A few other 
vessels, bearing similar fugitives, might be seen in the expanse, 
apparently motionless, yet gliding also on. There was a sense 
of security, of companionship, and of hope, in the sight of 
their slender masts and white sails. What beloved friends, lost 
and missed in the gloom, might they not bear to safety and to 
shelter. 

In the silence of the general sleep, Nydia rose gently. She 
bent over the face of Glaucus she inhaled the deep breath of 
his heavy slumber, timidly and sadly she kissed his brow his 
lips ; she felt for his hand it was locked in that of lone ; she 
sighed deeply, and her face darkened. Again she kissed his 
brow, and with her hair wiped from it the damps of night. 
"May the gods bless you, Athenian," she murmured: "may 
you be happy with your beloved one ! may you sometimes re- 
member Nydia ! Alas ! she is of no further use on earth." 

With these words she turned away. Slowly she crept along 
by ihefori, or platforms, to the farther side of the vessel, and 
pausing, bent low over the deep ; the cool spray dashed upward 
on her feverish brow. "It is the kiss of death," she said ; "it 
is welcome." The balmy air played through her waving 
tresses she put them from her face, and raised those eyes so 
tender, though so lightless to the sky, whose soft face she had 
never seen. 

" No, no !" she said, half aloud, and in a musing and thought- 
ful tone, "I cannot endure it; this jealous exacting love it 
shatters my whole soul in madness ! I might harm him again 
wretch that I was ! I have saved him twice saved him happy, 
happy thought why not die happy ? it is the last glad thought 
I can ever know. Oh ! sacred Sea ! I hear thy voice invitingly 
it hath a freshening and joyous call. They say that in thy em- 
brace is dishonour ; that thy victims cross not the fatal Styx ; be 
it so I would not meet him in the Shades, for I should meet him 
still with her ! Rest rest rest ! there is no other elysium for a 
heart like mine !" 

A sailor, half dozing on the deck, heard a slight splash on the 
waters. Drowsily he looked up, and behind, as the vessel merrily 
bounded on, he fancied he saw something white above the waves ; 
but it vanished in an instant. He turned round again, and 
dreamed of his home and children. 

When the lovers awoke, their first thought was of each other 
their next of Nydia. She was not to be found none had seen 
her since the night. Every crevice of the vessel was searched 
there was no trace of her. Mysterious from first to last, the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 359 

blind Thessalian had vanished for ever from the living world. 
They guessed her fate in silence ; and Glaucus and lone while 
they drew nearer to each other (feeling each other the world 
itself) forgot their deliverance, and wept as for a departed 
sister. 



CHAPTER THE LAST. 

WHEREIN ALL THINGS CEASE. 

Letter from Glaucus to Sallust, ten years after the destruction 
of Pompeii. 

ATHENS. 

f~* LAUCUS to his beloved Sallust greeting and health ! You 
\J request me to visit you at Rome. No, Sallust ; come rather 
to me at Athens. 1 have forsworn the Imperial City, its mighty 
tumult and hollow joys. In my own land henceforth I dwell for 
ever. The ghost of our departed greatness is dearer to me than 
the gaudy life of your loud prosperity. There is a charm to me, 
which no other spot can supply, in the porticoes hallowed still by 
holy and venerable shades. In the olive groves of Ilissus I still 
hear the voice of poetry ; on the heights of Phyle, the clouds of 
twilight seem yet the shrouds of departed freedom ; the herald 
the herald of the morrow that shall come. You smile at my 
enthusiasm, Sallust. Better be hopeful in chains than resigned 
to their glitter. You tell me you are sure that I cannot enjoy life 
in these melancholy haunts of a fallen majesty. You dwell with 
rapture on the Roman splendours, and the luxuries of the im- 
perial court. My Sallust ' non sum qualis eram ' I am not 
what I was ! The events of my life have sobered the bounding 
blood of my youth. My health has never quite recovered its 
wonted elasticity ere it felt the pangs of disease, and languished 
in the damps of a criminal's dungeon. My mind has never 
shaken off the dark shadow of the Last Day of Pompeii the 
horror and the desolation of that awful ruin ! Our beloved, our 
remembered Nydia ! I have reared a tomb to her shade, and I 
see it every day from the window of my study. It keeps alive in 
me a tender recollection a not unpleasing sadness, which are 
but a fitting homage to her fidelity, and the mysteriousness of her 
early death. lone gathers the flowers, but my own hand 
wreathes them daily around the tomb. She was worthy of a 
tomb in Athens ! 



360 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"You speak of the growing sect of Christians in Rome. 
Sallust, to you I may confide my secret : I have pondered much 
over that faith I have adopted it. After the destruction of 
of Pompeii, I met once more with Olinthus saved, alas ! only 
for a day, and falling afterwards a martyr to the indomitable 
energy of his zeal. In my preservation from the lion and the 
earthquake, he taught me to behold the hand of the Unknown 
God ! I listened believed adored ! My own, my more than 
ever beloved lone, has also embraced the creed ! a creed, Sal- 
lust, which, shedding light over this world, gathers its concen- 
trated glory, like a sunset, over the next. We know that we are 
united in the soul, as in the flesh, for ever and for ever! Ages 
may roll on, our very dust be dissolved, the earth shrivelled like 
a scroll ; but round and round the circle of eternity rolls the 
wheel of life, imperishable, unceasing ! And as the earth from 
the sun, so immortality drinks happiness from virtue, -which is 
the smile upon the face of God ! Visit me, then, Sallust ; bring 
with you the learned scrolls of Epicurus, Pythagoras, Diogenes ; 
arm yourself for defeat ; and let us, amidst the groves of Acade- 
mus, dispute under a surer guide than any granted to our fathers, 
on the mighty problem of the true ends of life and the nature of 
the soul. 

" lone at that name my heart yet beats ! lone is by my side 
as I write ; I lift my eyes, and meet her smile. The sunlight 
quivers over Hymettus ; and along my garden I hear the hum of 
the summer bees. Am I happy, ask you ? Oh, what can Rome 
give me equal to what I possess at Athens ! Here, everything 
awakens the soul and inspires the affections the trees, the 
waters, the hills, the skies, are those of Athens ! fair, though 
mourning mother of the poetry and the wisdom of the world. 
In my hall I seo the marble faces of my ancestors. In the Cera- 
micus, I survey their tombs. In the streets, I behold the hand 
of Phidias and the soul of Pericles. Harmodius, Aristogiton 
they are everywhere ; but in our hearts ! in mine, at least, they shall 
not perish ! If anything can make me forget that I am Athenian 
and not free, it is partly the soothing the love watchful, vivid, 
sleepless of lone : a love that has taken a new sentiment in our 
new creed (i) ;* a love which none of our poets, beautiful though 
they be, had shadowed forth in description : for, mingled with 
religion, it partakes of religion ; it is blended with pure and un- 
worldly thoughts ; it is that which we may hope to carry through 
eternity, and keep, therefore, white and unsullied, that we may 
not blush to confess it to our God ! This is the true type of the 

" See Note (i) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 361 

dark fable of our Grecian Eros and Psyche ; it is, in truth, the 
soul sleeping in the arms of love. And if this, our love, support 
me partly against the fever of the desire for freedom, my re- 
ligion supports me more ; for whenever I would grasp the 
sword, and sound the shell, and rush to a New Marathon but 
Marathon without victory I feel my despair at the chilling 
thought of my country's impotence the crushing weight of the 
Roman yoke, comforted, at least, by the thought that earth is 
but the beginning of life ; that the glory of a few years matters 
little in the vast space of eternity ; that there is no perfect freedom 
till the chains of clay fall from the soul, and all space, all time, 
become its heritage and domain. Yet Sallust, some mixture of 
the soft Greek blood still mingles with my faith. I can share not 
the zeal of those who see crime and eternal wrath in men who 
cannot believe as they. I shudder not at the creed of others. I 
dare not curse them ; I pray the Great Father to convert. This 
lukewarmness exposes me to some suspicion amongst the Chris- 
tians : but I forgive it ; and, not offending openly the prejudices 
of the crowd, I am thus enabled to protect my brethren from the 
danger of the law, and the consequences of their own zeal. If 
moderation seem to me the natural creature of benevolence, it 
gives, also, the greatest scope to benificence. 

"Such, then, O Sallust! is my life; such my opinions. In 
this manner I greet existence, and await death. And thou, glad- 
hearted and kindly pupil of Epicurus, thou But come 

hither, and see what enjoyments, what hopes are ours and not 
the splendour of imperial banquets, nor the shouts of the crowd- 
ed circus, nor the noisy forum, nor the glittering theatre, nor the 
luxurious gardens, nor the voluptuous baths of Rome, shall seem 
to thee to constitute a life of more vivid and uninterrupted happi- 
ness than that which thou so unreasonably pitiest as the career of 
Glauctis the Athenian ! Farewell !" 



****** 

Nearly seventeen centuries had rolled away when the city of 
Pompeii was disinterred from its silent tomb,* all vivid with un- 
dimmed hues ; its walls fresh as if painted yesterday not a hue 
faded on the rich mosaic of its floors in its Forum the half- 
finished columns as left by the workman's hand in its gardens 
the sacrificial tripod in its halls the chest of treasure in its 
baths the strigil in its theatres the counter of admission in its 
saloons the furniture and the lamp, in its triclinia the fragments of 
the last feast in its cubicula the perfumes and the rouge of faded 

Destroyed A.D. 79 ; first discovered A.D. 1750. 



362 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

beauty, and, everywhere, the bones and skeletons of those(/ )f 
who once moved the springs of that minute yet gorgeous machine 
of luxury and of life ! 

In the house of Diomed, in the subterranean vaults, twenty 
skeletons (one of a babe) were discovered in one spot by the 
door, covered by a fine ashen dust that had evidently been wafted 
slowly through the apertures until it had filled the whole space. 
There were jewels and coins, candelabra for unavailing light, and 
wine hardened in the amphorae for a prolongation of agonised 
life. The sand, consolidated by damps, had taken the forms of 
the skeletons as in a cast, and the traveller may yet see the im- 
pression of a female neck and bosom of young and round propor- 
tions the trace of the fated Julia ! It seems to the inquirer as if 
the air had been gradually changed into a sulphurous vapour. 
The inmates of the vaults had rushed to the door to find it closed 
and blocked by the scoria without, and, in their attempts to force 
it, had been suffocated with the atmosphere. 

In the garden was found a skeleton with a key in its bony 
hand, and near it a bag of coins. This is believed to have 
been the master of the house the unfortunate Diomed, who 
had probably sought to escape by the garden, and had been 
destroyed either by the vapours or some fragment of stone. 
Besides some silver vases lay another skeleton, probably of a 
slave. 

The houses of Sallust and of Pansa, the Temple of Isis, with 
the juggling concealments behind the statues the lurking-place 
of its holy oracles are now bared to the gaze of the curious. In 
one of the chambers of that temple was found a huge skeleton 
with an axe beside it : two walls had been pierced by the axe ; 
the victim could penetrate no farther. In the midst of the city 
was found another skeleton, by the side of which was a heap of 
coins and many of the mystic ornaments of the fane of Isis. 
Death had fallen up^n him in his avarice, and Calenus perished 
simultaneously with Burbo. As the excavators cleared on through 
the mass of ruin, they found the skeleton of a man literally sever- 
ed in two by a prostrate column. The skull was of so striking a 
conformation, so boldly marked in its intellectual, as well as its 
worse physical developments, that it has excited the constant 
speculation of every itinerant believer in the theories of Spurz- 
heim who has gazed upon that ruined palace of the mind. Still, 
after the lapse of ages, the traveller may survey that airy hall 
within whose cunning galleries and elaborate chambers once 

t See Note {/) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 363 

thought reasoned, dreamed, and sinned the soul of Arbaces the 
Egyptian ! 

Viewing the various witnesses of a social system which has 
passed from the world for ever a stranger, from that remote and 
barbarian isle which the imperial Roman shivered when he named, 
paused amidst the delights of the soft Campania and composed 
this history ! 



NOTES. 

fa) p. 9. "Flowers more alluring to the ancient Italians than to their 
descendants," &o. 

The modern Italians, especially those of the more southern parts of Italy, 
hare a peculiar horror of perfumes ; they consider them remarkably un- 
wholesome ; and the Roman or Neapolitan lady requests her visitors not to 
use them. What is very strang-e, the nostrils so susceptible of a perfume is 
wonderfully obtuse to its reverse. You may literally call Home " Sentina 
Gentium." 

(Z>) p. 26." The sixth banqueter, who was the umbra of Clodius." 

A very curious and interesting treatise might be written on the parasites 
of Greece and Home. In the former they were more degraded than in tho 
latter country. The Epistle of Alciphron express in a lively manner the in- 
sults which they underwent for the sake of a dinner : one man complains 
that fish-sauce was thrown into his eyes that he was beat on the head, 
and given to eat stones covered with honey, while a courtesan threw at him 
a bladder filled with blood, which burst on his face and covered him with 
the stream. The manner in which these parasites repaid the hospitality of 
their hosts was, like that of modem diners-out, by witty jokes and amusing 
stories; sometimes they indulged practical jokes on each other, "boxing 
one another's ears." The magistrates at Athens appear to have looked very 
sternly upon these hungry buffoons, and they complain of stripes and 
a prison with no philosophical resignation. In fact, the parasite seems at 
Athens to have answered the purpose of the fool of the middle ages ; but 
he was far more worthless and perhaps more witty the associate of courte- 
sans, uniting the pimp with the buffoon. This is a character peculiar to 
Greece. The Latin comic writers make, indeed, prodigal use of the parasite; 
yet he appears at Home to have held a somewhat higher rank, and to have 
met with a somewhat milder treatment than at Athens. Nor do the delinea- 
tions of Terence, which, in portraying Athenian manners, probably soften 
down whatever would have been exaggerated to a Roman audience, pre- 
sent so degraded or so abandoned a character as the parasite of Alciphrpn 
Athemeus. The more haughty and fastidious Romans often disdained in- 
deed to admit such buffoons as companions, and hired (as we may note in 
Pliny's Epistles) fools or mountebanks to entertain their guests and supply 
the place of the Grecian parasite. When (be it observed) Clodius is styled 
parasite in the text, the reader must take the modern, not the ancient, in- 
terpretation of the word. 



364 NOTES TO LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

A very feeble, but very flattering, reflex of the parasite was the umbra or 
shadow, who accompanied any invited guest, and who was sometimes a man 
of equal consequence, though usually a poor relative or a humble friend in 
modern cant, " a toady." Such is the umbra of our friend Clodiua. 

(c) p. 28. " The dice in August, and I an zedile I" 

All games of chance were forbidden by law ("VetitS legibus ale& " 
Horat. Od. xxiv. 1-3.), except "in Saturnalibus" during the month of 
December : the eediles were charged with enforcing this law, which, like all 
laws against gaming, in all times, was wholly ineffectual. 

(d) p. 34. " The small but graceful temple consecrated to Isis." 

Sylla is said to have transported to Italy the worship of the Egyptian 
Isis." It soon became " the rage "and was peculiarly in vogue with the 
Roman ladies. Its priesthood were sworn to chastity, and, like all such 
brotherhoods, were noted for their licentiousness. Juvenal styles the 
priestesses by a name (Isiacae lenae) that denotes how convenient they were 
to lovers : and under the mantle of night many an amorous intrigue was 
carried on in the purlieus of the sacred temples. A lady vowed for so 
many nights to watch by the shrine of Isis ; it was a sacrifice of continence 
towards her husband to be bestowed on her lover ! While one passion of 
human nature was thus appealed to, another scarcely less strong was also 
pressed into the service of the goddess namely, Credulity. The priest of 
Isis arrogated a knowledge of magic and of the future. Among women of 
all classes and among many of the harder sex the Egyptian sorceries were 
consulted and revered as oracles. Voltaire, with much plausible ingenuity, 
endeavours to prove that the gipsies are a remnant of the ancient priests 
and priestesses of Isis, intermixed with those of the goddess of Syria. In 
the time of Apuleius these holy impostors had lost their dignity and im- 
portance ; despised and poor, they wandered from place to place, selling 
prophecies and curing disorders ; and Voltaire, shrewdly bids us remark, 
that Apuleius has not forgot their peculiar skill in filching from out- 
houses and court-yards afterwards they practised palmistry and singular 
dances (query, the Bohemian dances '(). Such," says the too conclusive 
Frenchman, "such has been the end of the ancient religion of Isis and 
Osiris, whose very names still impress us with awe !" At the time in which 
my story is cast, the worship of Isis was, however, in its highest repute ; 
and the wealthy devotees sent even to the Nile, that they might sprinkle its 
mysterious waters over the altars of the goddess. I have introduced the 
Ibis in this sketch of the temple of Isis, although it has been supposed 
that that bird languished and died when taken from Egypt. But from 
various reasons, too long now to enumerate, I incline to believe that tho 
Ibis was by no means unf requent in the Italian temples of Isis, though it 
rarely lived long, and refused to breed in a foreign climate. 

(} p. 121. " The marvels of Faustus are not comparable with those of 
Apollonius." 

During the earlier ages of the Christian epoch, the heathen philosophy, 
especially of Pythagoras and of Plato, had become debased and adulterat- 
ed, not only by the wildest mysticism, but the most chimerical dreams of 

In the Campanian cities, the trade with Alexandria was probably more 
efficacious than the piety of Sylla (no very popular example, perhaps) ii; 
establishing the worship of the favourite deity of Egypt. 



NOTES TO LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 365 

magic. Pythagoras, indeed, scarcely merited a nobler destiny ; for though 
he was an exceedingly clever man, he was a most progidious mountebank, 
and was exactly formed to be the great father of a school of magicians. 
Pythagoras himself either cultivated magic or arrogated its attributes, and 
his followers told marvellous tales of his writing on the moon's disc, and 
appearing in several places at once. His golden rules and his golden 
thigh were his especial veneration in Magna Grsecia, and out of his doc- 
trines of occult numbers his followers extracted numbers of occult doc- 
trines. The most remarkable of the latter impostors who succeeded him, 
was Apollonins of Tyana, refered to in the text. All sorts of prodigies ac- 
companied the birth of this gentleman. Preotus, the Egyptian god, fore- 
told to his mother yet pregnant, that it was he himself (Proteus) who was 
about to re-appear in the world through her agency. After this, Proteus 
might well be considered to possess the power of transformation! Apol- 
lonius knew the language of birds, read men's thoughts in their bosoms, 
and walked about with a familiar spirit. He was a devil of a fellow with 
a devil, and induced a mob to stone a poor demon of venerable and mendi- 
cant appearance, who, after the lapidary operation, changed into a huge 
dog. He raised the dead, passed the night with Achilles, and when Domi- 
tian was murdered, he called out aloud (though at) Ephesus at the moment) 
" Strike the tyrant !" The end of so honest and great a man was worthy 
his life. It would seem that he ascended into heaven. What less could be 
expected of one who had stoned the devil ! Should any English writer medi- 
tate a new Faust, I recommend him to Apollonius. 
But the magicians of this sort were philosophers (!) excellent men and 

Eious ; there were others of a far darker and deadlier knowledge, the f ol- 
>wers of the Goetic Magic, in other words the Black Art. Both of these 
the Goetic and the Theurgic, seem to be of Egyptian origin ; and it is evi- 
dent, at least, that their practitioners appeared to pride themselves on draw- 
ing their chief secrets from that ancient source ; and both are intimately 
connected with astrology. In attributing to Arbaces the knowledge and 
the repute of magic, as well as that of the science of the stars, I am there- 
fore perfectly in accordance with the spirit of his time, and the circum- 
stances of his birth. He is a characteristic of that age. At one time, I 
purposed to have developed and detailed more than I have done the 
pretensions of Arbaces to the mastery of his art, and to have initiated the 
reader into the various sorceries of the period. But as the character of the 
Egyptian grew upon me, I felt that it was necessary to be sparing of that 
machinery which, thanks to this five-shillings march of knowledge, every 
one now may fancy he can detect. Such as he is Arbaces is become too 
much of an intellectual creation to demand a frequent repetition of the 
coarser and more physical materials of terror. I suffered him, then, 
merely to demonstrate his capacities in the elementary and obvious 
secrets of his craft, and leave the subtler magic he possesses to rest in mys- 
tery and shadow. 

As to the Witch of Vesuvius her spells and her philtres, her cavern and 
its appliances, however familiar to us of the North, are faithful also to her 
time and nation. A witch of a lighter character, and manners less ascetic, 
the learned reader will remember with delight in the " Golden Ass " of 
Apuleius ; and the reader who is not learned, is recommended to the spirited 
translation of that enchanting romance by Taylor. 

(/) p. 135." The influence of the evil eye." 

This superstition, to which I have more than once alluded throughout 
this work, still flourishes in Magna Graecia, with scarcely diminished vigour. 
I remember conversing- at Naples with a lady of the highest rank, and of 
intellect and information very uncommon amongst the noble Italians of 



366 NOTES TO LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

either sex, and when I suddenly observed her change colour, and maVe a 
rapid and singular motion with her finger. "My God, that man!" she 
whispered, tremblingly, 

"Whatman?" 

" See, the Count ! he has just entered." 

" He ought to be much flattered to cause such emotion : doubtless he has 
been one of the Signora's admirers ?" 

' ' Admirer ! Heaven forbid ! He has the evil eye. His look fell full upon 
me. Something dreadful will certainly happen." 

"I see nothing remarkab le in his eyes." 

" So much the worse. The danger is greater for being disguised. He is a 
terrible man. The last time he looked upon my husband, it was at cards, 
and he lost half his income at a sitting ; his ill-luck was miraculous. The 
count met my little boy in the gardens, and the poor child broke his arm that 
evening. Oh ! what shall I do '< something dreadful will certainly happen 
and, heavens ! he is admiring my cap !" 

" Does every one find the eyes of the count equally fatal, and his admira- 
tion equally exciting '(" 

" Every one he is universally dreaded ; and, what is very strange, he is so 
angry if he sees you avoid him !" 

" Thalfis very strange indeed ! the wretch!" 

At Naples the superstition works well for the jewellers, ^so many charms 
and talismans as they sell for the ominous fascination of the mal- 
occhio ! In Pompeii, the talismans were equally numerous, but not always 
of so elegant a shape, nor of so decorous a character. But, generally speak- 
ing, a coral ornament was, as it now is, among the favourite averters of the 
evil influence. The Thebans about Pontus were supposed to have an here- 
ditary claim to this charming attribute, and could even kill grown-up men 
with a glance. As for Africa, where the belief also still exists, certain 
families could not only destroy children, but wither up trees ; they did this 
not with curses but praises. In our time, politicians liave often possessed 
this latter faculty ! and the moment they take to praising an institution, it 
is time to pray God for it ! The malus oculus was not always different 
from the eyes of other people. But persons, especially of the fairer sex, 
with double pupils to the organ, were above all to be shunned and dread- 
ed. The iflyrians were said to possess this fatal deformity. In all 
countries, even in the North, ;the eye has ever been held the chief seat 
of fascination; but now-a-days, ladies with a single pupil manage the 
work of destruction pretty easily. So much do we improve upon our fore- 
fathers ! 

(ff) p. 308.- 

" We care not for gods up above us, 
We know there's no god for this earth, boys I" 

The doctrines of Epicurus himself are pure and simple. Far from deny- 
ing the existence of diviner powers, Velleius (the defender and explainer of 
his philosophy in Cicero's dialogue on the nature-jf the gods) asserts " that 
Epicurus was the first who saw that there were gods, from the impression 
which Nature herself makes on the minds of all men." He imagined the 
belief of the Deity to be an innate or antecedent notion of the mind a doc- 
trino|of which modem metaphysicians (certainly not Epicureans) have largely 
availed themselves ! He believed that worship was due to the divine powers 
from the veneration which felicity and excellence command, and not from 
any dread of their vengeance, or awe of their power ; a sublime and fear- 



NOTES TO LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 367 

less philosophy, suitable perhaps to half a dozen great and refined spirits, 
but which would present no check to the passions of mankind. According 
to him, the gods were far too agreeably employed, in contemplating their 
own happiness, to trouble their heads about the sorrows and the joys, the 
quarrels and trie cares, the petty and the transitory affairs of man. For this 
earth they were unsympathising abstractions : 

" Wrapt up in majesty divine, 
Can they regard on what we dine ?" 

Cotta, who, in the dialogue referred to attacks the philosophy of Epicurus 
with great pleasantry, and considerable, though not uniform, success, draws 
the evident and practical corollary from the theory that, asserts the non-in- 
terference of the gods: "How," says he, "can there be sanctity, if the 
gods regard not human affaire ? if the Deity show no benevolence to man, 
let us dismiss him at once. Why should I entreat him to be propitious ? 
He cannot be propitious since, according to you. favour and benevolence 
are only the effects of imbecility." Cotta, indeed, quotes from Ppsidonius 
(De Natura Deorum) to prove that Epicurus did not really believe in the ex- 
istence of a God : but that his concession of a being wholly nugatory was 
merely a precaution against accusations of atheism. " Epicurus could not 
be such a fool," says Cotta, "as sincerely to believe that a Deity has the 
members of a man without the power to use them ; a thin pellucidity, re- 
garding no one and doing nothing." And, whether this be true or false 
concerning Epicurus, it is certain that, to all effects and purposes, his later 
disciples were but refining atheists. The sentiments uttered in the song in 
the text are precisely those professed in sober prose by the graceful 
philosophers of the Garden, who, as they had wholly perverted the 
morals of Epicurus, which are at once pure and practical, found it a much 
easier task to corrupt his metaphysics, which are equally dangerous and 
visionary. 

(h) p. 352. " Rivers of the molten lava." 

Various theories as to the exact mode by which Pompeii was destroyed 
have been invented by the ingenious ; I have adopted that which is the most 
generally received, and which, upon inspecting the strata, appears the only 
one admissible by common sense ; namely, a destruction by showers of ashes 
and boiling water, mingled with frequent irruptions of large stones, and 
aided^by partial conyulsidhs of the earth. Herculaneum, on the contrary, 
appears to have received not only the showers of ashes, but also inundations 
from molten lava ; and the streams ref erred to in the text must be con- 
sidered as destined for that city rather than for Pompeii. The volcanic 
lightnings introduced in my description were evidently among the engines 
of ruin at Pompeii. Papyrus, and other of the more inflammable materials 
are found in a burnt state. Some substances in metal are partially melted ; 
and a bronze statue is completely shivered, as by lightning. Upon the 
whole excepting only the inevitable poetic license of shortening the time 
which the destruction occupied I believe my description of that awful event 
is very little assisted by invention, and will be found not the less accurate for 
its appearance in a Romance. 

(t) p. 360. " A love that has taken a new sentiment is our new creed." 

What we now term, and feel to be, sentiment in love, was very little known 
amongst the ancients, and at this day is scarcely acknowledged out of 
Christendom. It is a feeling intimately connected with not a belief , but 
a conviction, that the passion is of the soul, and, like the soul, immortal. 



$68 NOTES TO LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Chateaubriand, in that work so full both of error and of truth, his essay on 
" The Genius of Christianity." has referred to this sentiment with his usual 
eloquence. It makes, indeed, the great distinction between the amatory 
poetry of the moderns, and that of the ancients. And I have thought 
that I might, with some consonance to truth and nature, attribute the con- 
sciousness of this sentiment to Glaucus after his conversion to Christianity, 
though he is only able vaguely to guess at, rather than thoroughly to explain 
its cause. 

(j) p. 362. "And, everywhere, the bones and skeletons of those who 
once moved the springs of that minute yet gorgeous machine of luxury and 
of life." 

At present there have been about three hundred and fifty or four hun- 
dred skeletons discovered in Pompeii ; but as a great part of the city has yet 
to be disinterred, we can scarcely calculate the number of those who perish- 
ed in the destruction. Still, however, we have every reason to conclude that 
they were very few in proportion to those who escaped. The ashes had been 
evidently cleared away from many of the houses, no doubt for the purpose 
of recovering whatever treasure had been left behind. The mansion of our 
friend Sallust is one of those thus revisited. The skeletons which, re-ani- 
mated for awhile, the reader has seen play their brief parts upon the stage 
under the names of Burbo, Calenus, Diomed, Julia, and Arbaces, were 
found exactly as described in the text : may they have been re-animated 
more successfully for the pleasure of the reader than they have been for the 
solace of the author, who has vainly endeavoured, in the work which he 
now concludes, to beguile the most painful, gloomy, and despondent period 
of a life, in the web of which has been woven less of white than the world 
may deem ! But, like most other friends, the Imagination is capricious, and 
forsakes us often at the moment in which we most need its aid. As we 
grow older, we begin to learn that, of the two, our most faithful and stead- 
fast comforter isCustom. But I should apologise for this sudden and un- 
seasonable indulgence of a momentary weakness it is but for a moment. 
With returning health returns also that energy without which the- soul were 
given us in vain, and which enables us calmly to face the evils of our being, 
and resolutely to fulfil its objects. There is but one philosophy though 
there are a thousand schools and its name is Fortitude. 

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Companion Volume to " Silver Songs." 

GOLDEN SONGS, for Sunday Schools 
and the Home Circle. A NEW COL- 
LECTION OF ORIGINAL AND SELECTED 
MUSIC. By P. P. Bliss, Thos. Westendorf, W. H. 
Doane, W. A. Ogden, J. H. Leslie, and others. 

Beautifully Bound in Cloth. .. . is. 6d. 

Among the numerous Tunes are the following : 

Ask, Seek, Knock Battling for the Crown Be not afraid 
Blessed are they that do Various Chants Every 

day and hour Father, Saviour, Spirit take me Are you 
one of the "Ninety and Nine" Good night till 

then Go bear the joyful tidings Hark I hear the Saviour 
calling, &*c. 



SILVER BELLS: A Collection of 

New Music For Board Schools, High 
Schools, Seminaries, Juvenile Gatherings, and 
the Home Circle. By J. H. Leslie and W. A. 

Ogden. Uniform -with 'Silver Songs.' Bound in 
Cloth is. 6d. 

Songs for individual happiness and social accomplishments 
are rarely found in books of this class; but "Silver Bells," 
abounds with them, and the style of Song is so natural that it 
must meet with universal satisfaction. 

136 Compositions or Tunes. With Musical Notation, or First 
Lessons in Music. 

WORDS ONLY of any of the preceding 4 Music 
Books, Price 2d. or in Cloth Covers 3d. each. 

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WAKEFIELD SHILLING JUVENILE SERIES. 

Foolscap 8vo., Toned Paper, Cloth, Coloured Frontispiece, 
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The SILVER MORNING and the GOLDEN DAT. 

By Mrs. Doughty. 
The LITTLE BASKET MAKER, and other Stories. By 

Chauneey Giles. 

The GATE OF PEARL. By Chaunoey Giles. 
The WONDERFUL POCKET. By Chaunoey Giles. 
The If AGIO SPECTACLES. By Chauneey Giles. 
GRATEFUL ANNIE, or the NEW SKATES. By 

Mrs. Doughty. 

ELLEN AND SOPHIA, or the BROKEN HYACINTH. 
The LITTLE GIRL'S KEEPSAKE. By Mrs. Sherwood. 
The LITTLE WOODMAN and his DOG CJESAR. 

By Mrs. Sherwood. 

The COTTAGE BY THE LAKE. 
The BENEVOLENT WOODCUTTER 
LITTLE OLIVE'S DREAM. 
The ANGEL'S VOICE, and other Stories. 
The WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 
CHRISTMAS PICTURES, and other Tales. 
The VICAR OF WAKEFIELD. 
A CHILD OF JESUS. 



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THE 

Wakefeld Sixpenny Juvenile Series. 

Neatly Bound in Cloth, with Coloured Frontispiece 
and Picture on one side. 

The SNOW STORM, or the Providential 

Deliverance. 

ROBERT JONES, or the Two Paths. 
A BOOK ABOUT BOYS. 
A BOOK ABOUT GIRLS. 
The EIGHT BELLS, and their Voices. 
The FOUR LITTLE CRUSOES. 
The LITTLE HUNTER, and other Stories. 
The BLUE SASH, and other Tales. 
LITTLE SUSY'S SIX TEACHERS. 
CHARLIE, the YOUNG CONQUEROR. 
The BOY ADMIRAL, or What Will You Be ? 
The YOUNG QUEEN, or the Little Shoes. 
YOUTH'S NATURAL HISTORY. Illustrated. 
RALPH and TOMMY, or I Wish I Wasn't 

Black. 

KIT WEEDON, or the Little Trunkmaker. 
JACKETS and TROUSERS, and other Tales. 
HARRY and MAUDE, or the White Kitten. 
CICELY and the City Girl. 
The MOSS ROSE, and other Tales. 
The RED SHOES, and other Stories. . 
A BLOSSOM in the DESERT, and other Tales. 
HERMAN the CHARCOAL BURNER, From 

the German. 

The STORY of LITTLE PATCHY. 
UNDER the APPLE TREE. 
SUSIE and CLARENCE, or The New-Year's 

Gift. 

EDA DARLING, the Little Flower Girl. 
BIBLE BOYS. A book for the Young. Cloth 

with 7 full page Engravings. 

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By Richard Brisk Esq. Cloth, la. By Post IB 20. 

THE MERRY COMPANION 

For all readers. Containing a Choice Selection of the 
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THE BOOK TO KEEP THE SPIRITS UP 

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The FUNNIEST OF ALL FUN, and WITTIEST 

OF ALL WIT. Containing Jaw Cracking Tales, la. 

"A Cheerful heart robs the Physician of his fee." VirgtL 

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PENNY READINGS and RECITATIONS; 

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splendid Coloured Illustrations, by Kronheim. W 

12mo. Extra Cloth, Bevelled Boards, Gilt Edges, 7\ 

3s. 6d. Plain Edges, 3s. *6 



The Prettiest LOVE GIFT ever Published. Printed on 
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Back, Side, and Edges, S52 Pages. Illustrated with 8 
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by Kronheim. Price 3s. By Post 8s. 3d. 

THE LOVEE'S 

LANGUAGE AND POETEY 
OP FLOWERS, 

Or the Sentiments of the Heart expressed by 
Flowers. This Book contains much new 
Poetry, Floral Descriptions and Expositions 
most interesting. Lessons to be regarded by all 
Lovers, as taught by Flowers, Floral Wishes 
and Declarations of the Heart's attachment ; to 
which are added Floral Anecdotes, and the 
FLORAL ORACLE, for the Amusement of Even- 
ing Parties. 

BY A LOVER OP FLOWERS. 

In this book there is a new arrangement, and 
new poetry, quite in a novel, unique, <*nd interest- 
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Published by W. Nicholson & Sons, London. 



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The Book that every Family Needs. 



CONSULT ME, 

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How to make Biscuits, Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Creams, Jellies, < ! 

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( > Pains, Bruises, Burns, &c., &c. To make Bitters, Decoc- (8 
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Published by W. NICHOLSON & SONS. LONDON. E.G. 









Illustrated with 130 Engravings of various Rants. 

The Best, Most Simple, and Practical Work on British 
and Foreign Herbs ever Published. 

Price, 2s. 6d. Plain. Coloured Plates, 3s. 6d. 

OR SENT POST FREE FOR 4 STAMPS EXTRA. 

BOBINSON'S 

NEW FAMILY HERBAL: 

Comprising a Description of British and Foreign Plants, and 
their Medical Virtues; founded on the Works of the best English 
and American "Writers on the Medical Properties of Herbs. 
Directions for Gathering Leaves, Flowers, Seeds, Roots, Barks ; 
and for making Juices, Syrups, Preserves, Oils, Electuaries, Con- 
serves, Ointments, Poultices, Pills, Decoctions, &c., to which is 
added, "The Botanic Family Physician," with complete Direc- 
tions for the use of the various Herbs. General Directions for 
curing or Preventing Disease. Valuable Receipts, and Remarks 
on Diet, Clothing, Bathing, Air, Exercise, &c., Nursing the Sick. 
Hints in Emergencies, Nutrition of Grain, Flesh, Animal and 
Vegetable Food, Fruits, &o. Definition of Terms, and other 
important matter. 

$jp" This part has already been found by the afflicted 
to be more valuable than gold. 

EXTRACT FROM THE PREFACE. 

The government of Herbs by the sun, moon, and planets, has 
been exploded by modern science; and is now regarded as absurd 
in the extreme. Botanical knowledge has been greatly extended, 
and some Medical Men and Herbalists have very ably written 
upon it. The properties of Herbs are now better understood 
than in the days of Culpeper, and others. 

In preparing this Work, I have rejected the Astrological 

government of Herbs, such as, for instance, Culpeper 's laughable 
escription of Wormwood. I have consulted the works of Hill, 
Woodville, Don, Thornton, and especially some of the great 
American Herbalists. 



LONDON : PUBLISHED BY W. NICHOLSON AND SONS, 
20, Warwick Square, Paternoster Row, and Albion Works, Wakefield.